CLSA's Niranjan skips to Tata Capital

CLSA India's head of investment banking moves to Tata Capital after only one year, as the trend of senior bankers joining domestic firms gains momentum.
In a surprise move, CLSA's co-head of investment banking for India, J Niranjan has resigned to join Tata Capital in the same capacity. Niranjan will report to Tata Capital managing director Praveen Kadle.

Tata Capital is a firm created by the Tata Group as a foray into financial services and is intended to serve both retail and institutional customers. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group. The aim in investment banking is to service mid-market firms. Tata Capital will not automatically win mandates from Tata group companies but is expected to be involved in instances where an opportunity to create value exists.

Niranjan had been with CLSA for just one year. He joined them in 2007 as co-head of investment banking in a move intended to fuel the bankÆs ambitions to expand its footprint in investment banking in India. CLSA is well-known in India for its brokerage services and since 1993 has had a small but highly profitable investment banking business run by Pankaj Agarwal. Niranjan was intended to help Agarwal grow the IB business and win more market share.

Niranjan joined ICICI in its merchant banking division in 1990 and stayed with the firm when it was spun out into a standalone subsidiary, ICICI Securities. In all he was with the ICICI group for over 15 years. At the time of his resignation from ICICI Securities, he was head of investment banking and had worked on a roster of deals across capital markets and advisory.

While unanticipated, NiranjanÆs move is not unprecedented. A number of senior investment bankers in India have been attracted by the opportunities on offer at locally owned firms.

In February 2008 CitiÆs India head of equity research Ratnesh Kumar left the firm to join Anand Rathi Financial Services as CEO of institutional equities. Kumar had been with Citi for eight years. And in May 2007 four veteran CLSA bankers on the brokerage side û Bharat Parajia, Hastimal Nemkumar, Aniruddha Dange and Vasudev Jagannath û quit to join India Infoline.

For these professionals, the prospect of shared ownership and the ability to drive decisions and participate in IndiaÆs growth story are more attractive than the career path offered at an international firm. Equally interesting, the gap in salaries between domestic firms and their global counterparts has narrowed and in some cases does not exist anymore.
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