BNP hires Raha to boost India franchise

Aside from leading the institutional equities and corporate finance business, Abhijit Raha will also head up a new JV with Geojit Financial Services.
BNP Paribas has hired Abhijit Raha as head of institutional equities and corporate finance in India as part of a process to strengthen its franchise in the country. The French bank has also named Raha as chief executive officer for a proposed Indian joint venture with Geojit Financial Services.

Raha will focus on leveraging BNPÆs business with equity derivative products and other financial solutions as the market opens up. He will be based in Mumbai and report to Pierre Rousseau, head of BNP Paribas Securities (Asia) and global head of equity brokerage, and to Christian de Charnace, head of corporate finance for Asia-Pacific.

Raha is well known in the market from his time at CLSA, where he played a key role in growing the firmÆs business in both India and Southeast Asia. During his career at CLSA, he spent six years as chief executive officer for India and three years as country head for Singapore and Malaysia.

According to a BNP release, he has a proven track record of developing strong institutional equities and corporate finance franchises in emerging markets and brings with him a wealth of broad-based investment banking experience within several areas including equities, foreign-exchange trading and management.

Raha left CLSA in 2005 to set up an India-specific absolute-return fund in partnership with fellow fund manager Tarun Gandhi and Bank Julius Baer, under the name of Cornerstone Asia Investments.

ôThe development of the corporate finance business in India is an integral part of the bankÆs ambitions for this country. Abhijit's spot-on experience and background will allow us to build our capital markets franchise most effectively, including tapping the mid-cap space,ö says de Charnace in a written statement. ôHis international experience, coupled with the global platform of BNP Paribas, will put us in the most strategic position to capture cross-border flows as well.ö

The proposed joint venture with Geojit Financial Services, which is still subject to necessary regulatory approvals, will be fully managed by BNP Paribas Securities Asia. It will focus on the development of institutional and derivatives businesses and will also manage the brokerage arm that services BNPÆs corporate finance business in India.

Geojit Financial Services is active within equities, derivatives, portfolio management services, custody services, distribution of mutual funds, life insurance, commodities trading and margin trading. It currently manages $1.5 billion of assets for 340,000 clients.
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