Brown?s view

In an ongoing series of interviews about how the U-shaped recovery will affect Asian investment banking strategies, we speak to ING Barings investment banking supremo, Malcolm Brown.

Q: In what ways is ING Barings Asian investment banking strategies distinct from competitors?

Malcolm Brown: We are distinct from our competitors because unlike many of them, we have a franchise in Asia which puts us on the ground in virtually every market in the region. As a result, we have built strong relationships with these clients, and we have a strong track record of repeat business with many of these clients. We also offer the full range of investment banking products, from traditional mergers and acquisitions advisory services, through to origination of capital markets products and securitization, and we back up this product range with our corporate and structured lending capability, often integrated into complex multi-product transactions. Now, through our efforts to bring the businesses more closely in line with the other entities of the ING Group, we can also offer cash management and international payments products. In addition, we can also emphasize a range of targeted sectors, where we can provide truly value-added services in financial institutions, consumer products, telecommunications, technology and media, utilities and transport and logistics.

Q: Does ING Barings have a stronger focus perhaps on Southeast Asia than some other firms which seem to have focused more on North Asia?

MB: Like most of our competitors, we focus on the bigger markets, which currently tend to be the North Asia markets, but we have not abandoned the Southeast Asian markets, and we continue to be strongly represented there. Our focus is pan-Asia, and this means sticking with markets both when they are buoyant, and when they are not.

Q: Which is the greatest area of potential growth? Is it M&A?

MB: We have already seen a lot of growth in M&A in the last three to four years in Asia, but by developed country markets there is still more to come and this is definitely a growth area for us. Clearly on the equity markets side ? apart from a few very big deals ? there has been less activity recently, but we do see that recovering over time. What we do find is that while demand for equity-related products has temporarily subsided, there is growing interest in our fixed income products, and we have worked on a number of deals recently, particularly in our securitization group, that have demonstrated real client interest in this area.

Q: How has the current climate (U-shape recovery etc.) changed your strategy, if at all?

MB: The current climate will not have any impact on our overall strategy, and if anything, we find that corporate clients tend to fall back on their relationship banks in these types of market conditions. Our strategy has always been to be a full service investment bank, providing the complete range of investment banking products and using our balance sheet to support our clients? businesses throughout Asia. We will continue to do that.

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