Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hired Stephen Gore to head mergers and acquisitions in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan. He will be based in Hong Kong and is likely to take up his position during the final quarter of the year, according to an unofficial source.
Gore has been lured from UBS, where he was also regional M&A chief. He has worked for the Swiss bank since joining the financial industry in 1993 and has been in Asia since 2005.
He has held the top M&A job at UBS for the past three years after succeeding Matt Hanning in 2009, and was previously in charge of the financial sponsors group.
His move to the US bank follows other prominent UBS defections, such as Alex Wilmott-Sitwell, who left Asia less than a month after being promoted to chairman of the investment bank to become BoA Merrill’s president of Europe and non-Asian emerging markets.
In March, UBS poached Andrea Orcel from BoA Merrill to become co-CEO of its investment bank alongside Carsten Kengeter, which effectively led to Wilmott-Sitwell’s relegation in the pecking order.
At BoA Merrill, Gore will have overall responsibility for its regional M&A franchise, and, according to the source, will be expected to develop its cross-border capabilities.
Last year, BoA Merrill earned $438 million in investment banking fees in Asia-Pacific (including Japan and Australia), placing it seventh in the fee pool league tables. That was only a 5.6% drop from the $464 million it earned in 2010, when it also ranked seventh.
Gore will report to Jayanti Bajpai and Jiro Seguchi, co-heads of Asia-Pacific corporate and investment banking, and Adrian Mee, head of international M&A.
His appointment comes shortly after David Killingback chose to stay in Australia, rather than replace Michael Cho as head of M&A for the region in January. It’s understood that Killingback was motivated by family reasons. However, he remains at the bank, where he covers the consumer, retail and media sectors.