Blandon says adios to Asia

Morgan StanleyÆs leveraged finance head returns to New York after six years in Asia.
Max Blandon is moving to New York to develop Morgan StanleyÆs leveraged and acquisition finance practice in the US.

After six years building the bankÆs high-yield and leverage loan business in Asia, and in Latin America before that, Blandon is now hoping a similar approach will work in the States too.

"The strategy was very successful in Asia and Latin America," says Blandon. "In the US, the plan is to work with the industry groups and really penetrate their client base."

Put simply, the tried-and-tested formula is to seek out promising growth companies, pitch strategies that will help improve their capital structure and through that early support develop a relationship that will position Morgan Stanley as their preferred bankers by the time they grow up to be market leaders.

"There's definitely an opportunity to extend the Morgan Stanley franchise to companies that we have not traditionally targeted," says Blandon. "We're looking to provide them with long-term capital and get the benefit of growing with them."

It is an approach that has served the bank well in Asia. During BlandonÆs tenure in Hong Kong his team has worked on repeat deals for some of the most exciting credits in the region, such as Sino-Forest and Panva Gas, as well as on some notable one-off deals, such as the $600 million high-yield bond offer for MacauÆs Galaxy Casino in 2005.

Blandon leaves the leveraged and acquisition finance team in good hands. It will now be managed by a two-man team of Brian McCullough, a managing director, and Peter Szekely, an executive director û both are existing members of the team. They will report to Gokul Laroia, who heads up the global capital markets group in Asia.
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