Brosnan resigns from Morgan Stanley

Brosnan quits Morgan Stanley's equity syndicate to join UBS

UBS declines to comment on whether it has hired Damien Brosnan from Morgan Stanley, but confirms that its former head of syndicate, Ross Baildon, resigned from the firm yesterday.
Damien Brosnan

Damien Brosnan has resigned from his job on the equity syndicate desk at Morgan Stanley and, according to sources, will move to UBS where he will become head of equity syndicate for Asia ex-Japan.

He will take over from Ross Baildon, who resigned from UBS yesterday. A spokesperson at UBS confirmed that Baildon has left after just 10 months with the firm, but did not comment on whether Brosnan has been hired.

Sources said, however, that Brosnan, who handed in his resignation on Monday, will join UBS as a managing director after the customary three months of gardening leave. In addition, UBS announced internally on Monday that it will bring out Pascal Guttieres from London to focus on the execution of Asian block trades.

Together, these two moves suggest that UBS felt the need to beef up its syndicate desk. The Swiss firm has managed to keep up the volume of equity capital markets (ECM) deals in the region even as it has lost a number of bankers in the past couple of years. And year-to-date it is the top international firm in Dealogic’s ECM revenue ranking for Asia ex-Japan.

But it has lost some ground in terms of winning the biggest mandates, particularly with regard to sell-downs by existing shareholders in listed companies (also known as block trades) — a business where UBS was one of the top-two banks in the region before the financial crisis.

Last year, UBS ranked sixth in Asia ex-Japan for accelerated bookbuild transactions, which includes block trades and follow-on share sales by listed companies, with 16 deals and a 6.3% market share, according to Dealogic data. Morgan Stanley topped the table with 21 deals and a market share of 25.4%.

Year-to-date, UBS is sixth again, while Morgan Stanley is in number three. The two banks have executed 10 deals each. Goldman Sachs is at number one, partly thanks to the sale of its own shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. However, UBS has been more active on IPOs and ranks second in the Asia ex-Japan league table for all ECM deals, after Goldman Sachs. Morgan Stanley is fifth. All three banks are involved in a number of large IPOs that are currently in the market.

Last year, UBS was third for overall ECM deals, after Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, but executed more deals then the other two (47 versus 40 for Goldman and 46 for Morgan Stanley).

A hire from Morgan Stanley would be a bit of a coup for UBS and would show that it is still able to attract top talent from other firms. It also suggests that it will continue to be aggressive when it comes to re-building its ECM franchise.

Brosnan joined Morgan Stanley in New York out of college in 2001 and transferred to Asia in 2005, initially for a job in ECM origination. He moved to the syndicate desk in early 2007 where he has remained until now, apart from a stint originating equity-linked transactions from late 2008 until the end of summer 2009.

Ross Baildon

At Morgan Stanley he was a second year executive director working under syndicate head and co-head of Asia-Pacific ECM Justin Haik, so the move to a managing director and head of syndicate role at UBS will be a big step up for him. Aside from Brosnan, the UBS syndicate team in Hong Kong is currently comprised of four people, plus Guttieres who will sit on the desk but will focus solely on blocks.

Baildon was hired as head of syndicate at UBS in May last year, about a month after former syndicate head Sam Kendall was promoted to head of ECM. The bank had also seen some turnover on the desk with Steve Lam and Harish Raman both leaving in March 2011 to join Citi, and Kendall was keen to strengthen the team as part of his aim to make UBS the number one ECM franchise in Asia — for revenues as well as league table credits. Baildon, who was previously head of syndicate at Credit Suisse, took up his new job at the end of July last year.

Baildon didn’t comment on his reasons for leaving UBS after less than a year, but told FinanceAsia yesterday that his plans will become known in due course. He said he intends to stay in Hong Kong.

Baildon joined Credit Suisse in 1998 from BZW. He was initially head of the Sydney equity sales desk before assuming a role as head of Australia equity sales and trading in 2001. In 2004 he transferred to the ECM team to become head of Australia and New Zealand syndicate, a role that he kept until he moved to Hong Kong at the start of 2010.

Meanwhile, a source at Morgan Stanley said that Alex Abagian, who is currently working on the equity syndicate desk in Australia, will move to Hong Kong temporarily to fill the gap after Brosnan, until the bank can finalise a permanent replacement. Because Morgan Stanley has an integrated syndicate desk for Asia-Pacific, Abagian is already working on some deals in Asia from his base in Sydney, so the transition should be pretty seamless.

Abagian joined Morgan Stanley in 2001 and is currently an executive director.


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