CB specialist set to join Citi chooses Standard Chartered instead

Nathan McMurtray joins Standard Chartered as global head of origination for equity-linked securities, a job left open when Morgan Stanley poached three people from the UK bank last month to build its own CB team.

Standard Chartered has snapped up convertible bond specialist Nathan McMurtray to become its new global head of origination for equity-linked securities, a job left vacant when Ronnie Potel left in March to join Morgan Stanley.

The hire is somewhat surprising as McMurtray, according to several sources, was set to join Citi this month as a senior banker in its four-person CB team in Asia. In a story that ran on our website on April 23, FinanceAsia quoted a source saying McMurtray was expected to start with Citi in Hong Kong in the next couple of weeks after working out his notice at Standard Bank.

Instead, McMurtray started a new job at Standard Chartered on Monday this week. The UK-based bank was keen to find a replacement for Potel who left after less than one year with the firm. And with Morgan Stanley also hiring David Sandor, a vice-president in the CB origination team, and Janice Dunnett, head of CB sales, Standard Chartered found itself in the undesirable position of having to re-build its CB franchise almost from scratch. Traditionally a firm known for its fixed-income business, Standard Chartered has made a strong push into equities in the past year with several key hires and the acquisition of Cazenove's Asian business in January 2009 that gave it an equities and advisory platform.

The hire of McMurtray shows that it remains committed to the equities platform and won't allow its plans to be derailed by the recent departures. Its aim is to be able to deliver whatever solution may be best for the client, across all products.

In that context, it isn't too far-fetched to assume that money played a part in McMurtray's decision to join Standard Chartered instead of Citi. However, McMurtray will also get a bigger and broader role at Standard Chartered, where he will be in charge of CB origination for all of Asia as well as Africa -- a job that may have proved too tempting to turn down. The CB platform at Standard Chartered is also different to that of most other major CB houses, as the bank focuses primarily on offering CBs as an alternative or complementary product to its existing clients, as opposed to targeting any company in the region looking to issue CBs.

The franchise is also backed by a large balance sheet that the bank is quite happy to put to work to support new issuance.   

McMurtray was most recently head of Asia equity-linked origination at South Africa-based Standard Bank, which he joined towards the end of the first quarter last year. He was previously head of Asia-Pacific equity-linked origination at Morgan Stanley, but left the bank at the end of January 2009 as part of a reorganisation.

McMurtray joined Morgan Stanley in New York in 2000, initially within global technology banking and then in the global capital markets division with a focus on CBs. He transferred to Hong Kong in January 2005. Before joining Morgan Stanley he worked as a lawyer with Cravath, Swaine & Moore for three years.

Meanwhile, sources say Citi may still be looking to hire for the position that McMurtray was set to take up, although they add that the bank has a big team already and doesn't necessarily need to have someone in that role. It may also chose to appoint someone internally. The team is led by Craig Duffy, head of equity origination, which includes the equity-linked business as well as Citi's straight equity business outside of China.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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