CLSA has appointed Andrew Low as its head of international investment banking, a newly created role for the bank and a signal of its global ambitions since being acquired by Chinese brokerage CITIC Securities.
He is set to join CLSA in mid February and will be based in Hong Kong, reporting to CLSA Chairman and chief executive officer and CITIC Securities International's Co-CEO Jonathan Slone. Low will also join CLSA’s Executive Committee.
Low, previously chief operating officer at Macquarie Capital Advisers, joins from RedBridge Grant Samuel, a boutique corporate finance firm he established in 2011. RedBridge was subsequently acquired by independent corporate advisory group Grant Samuel and, as part of the deal, Low sold his shares in RedBridge to Grant Samuel.
Low, whose expertise is mainly in mergers and acquisitions, will oversee the expansion of CITIC Securities’ international investment banking activities through CLSA and manage CLSA’s banking teams in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul and Singapore.
In July 2013 CLSA became a wholly owned subsidiary of CITIC Securities, the leading brokerage and investment bank in China. Over the past 18 months, CITIC Securities International, the Hong Kong-based international subsidiary of CITIC Securities, has been integrating its equity capital market and debt capital market capabilities into CLSA.
Asian banks have so far not been able to compete with the bulge-bracket banks on a global scale but Low sees an opportunity for Asian banks such as CLSA to play a bigger role in capturing deal flow.
“The economic centre of gravity has shifted to Asia and the centre of financial flows is starting to shift also,” Low told FinanceAsia over the phone. “Over the next decade there is the opportunity for at least one Asian investment bank to figure in the top tier globally. With CITIC Securities the leading domestic bank in China and CLSA’s critical mass in other markets, it has the right building blocks.”
Chinese companies have been active in outbound acquisitions, buying everything from copper mines to servers, and Low sees opportunities to grow the firm’s M&A platform, leveraging off CITIC’s relationships in China.
“One of the near-term opportunities is cross-border M&A with Chinese counterparties. Chinese outbound M&A flows will continue to grow. CITIC and CLSA have both debt capacity and strong research to generate ideas for M&A,” Low said.
The firm also plans to hire in other markets to expand its M&A expertise outside of China. “We also plan to leverage other relationships that CLSA has and hire the right people to originate and execute cross border M&A in other markets as well,” he said.
The firm’s ECM capabilities will continue to be led by Richard Taylor, who established CLSA’s capital markets group in 1995. As part of the integration, Changhong Wang joined CLSA in April from CITIC Securities, becoming a managing director and co-head of ECM, while Kathy Liu joined as head of DCM.
Taylor and Liu both report to Low, while Wang reports to Taylor.
The combined teams have completed more than 55 deals across Asia so far this year, including 11 China-related initial public offerings and 17 cross-border DCM transactions.
When Low left Macquarie in 2010 he was seen as the second-in-charge at Macquarie Capital alongside the global head of investment banking, Michael Carapiet. In addition to his role as chief operating officer he also chaired the global operating committee.
As Macquarie Capital’s Head of Asia from 2004 to 2010 he led the deal team for the acquisition of ING Securities and had oversight of all Macquarie offices across the region.
He was also global head of Macquarie’s Telecom, Media, Entertainment & Technology group from 2001-2007, a co-head of Macquarie’s global Financial Institutions Group and the inaugural Vice-Chairman of the Sino-Australian Trust Company in Shanghai.
Low is a member of the Australian Takeovers Panel and deputy chairman of the Asia Society in Australia.