Citi's Nayyar moves to Religare

Religare entices Citi MD Nalin Nayyar to join as head of investment banking for India, only weeks after Ravi Lambah also resigns from Citi.

Religare Capital Markets has poached Nalin Nayyar from Citi to head investment banking for India, a move that marks the latest in a string of hires for Religare and a series of departures for Citi.
Religare Capital Markets is the investment banking and institutional securities arm of the Religare group -- a financial services group promoted by the Ranbaxy founders, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh.

Nayyar brings to Religare 19 years of investment banking experience across the US, London and Asia. In his most recent job as a managing director at Citi in Mumbai, he was responsible for coverage of key relationships in the industrials sector, including metals and mining and capital goods. Nayyar joined Citi from Lehman Brothers.

He will report to Tarun Kataria, who is chief executive officer of Religare Capital Markets India, and to Sutha Kandiah, global head of investment banking based in Singapore. Both were hired earlier this year.

Kataria joined Religare in May from HSBC where he had been head of global banking and markets for India since 2007, responsible for global markets, corporate and institutional banking, investment banking advisory, equity capital markets and private equity. He was also vice chairman of HSBC Securities and Capital Markets India. He had previously also worked with HSBC in Hong Kong and with Merrill Lynch.

Religare had been scouting around for an India CEO for some time, although some specialists were surprised that the firm chose a markets specialist for the role. Kataria is based in Mumbai.

Kandiah was earlier co-head of equity capital markets for Asia at UBS. He is based in Singapore. Religare has also recently hired Rob Munro as global chief operating officer, Nick Holtby as global head of equities and Rob Flynn as CEO of the Asia region.

Some sources found Nayyar’s decision to leave a global bank for a domestic investment bank surprising. But it is also a fact that domestic firms are enticing top-notch talent by offering shared ownership and a voice in strategic decision-making. Further, the Singh brothers are committed to growing Religare and to making financial services one of the group's mainstay businesses, corroborated by their recent decision to increase their stake in the company and to shore up its capital base.

Nayyar is the latest departure from Citi’s investment banking team in India and the second managing director to quit in the past few weeks. The head of telecommunications, media and technology for India, Ravi Lambah, left the US bank in July and is currently on gardening leave. It is speculated that Lambah is joining Standard Chartered and was attracted by the opportunity to put his TMT expertise to work at a bank which is able to aggressively lend balance sheet to deals.

Sameer Sood, a vice-president in investment banking who covered real estate, also resigned from Citi recently.

“Citi India has always been successful in attracting high-quality talent across platforms as demonstrated by the number of senior hires made in the past few months,” said Ravi Kapoor, Citi's head of global banking for India, when contacted to comment on the spate of resignations in investment banking. Kapoor went on to cite the recent transfers of Rajiv Nayar and Rahul Shukla from Hong Kong to Mumbai, as well as some recent hires like that of Keshav Sanghi.

Kapoor was promoted to his current position -- the top relationship management job at the US bank in India -- when Pramit Jhaveri was promoted to country head for Citi India pursuant to the resignation of Mark Robinson. Citi did not clarify who will be replacing Nayyar. Lambah’s replacement has also yet to be announced.

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