David Douglas, the global head of equity capital markets at Standard Chartered, will leave the bank at the end of March, sources said yesterday.
Douglas, who is based in Hong Kong, has been with the UK-headquartered bank for three-and-a-half years and has overseen the build-up of a meaningful ECM business that gained pace after the takeover of Cazenove Asia in January 2009. Prior to that acquisition, Standard Chartered wasn’t particularly involved in equity capital markets, but ECM products are now among its basic offerings to clients and the bank has become a relatively frequent bookrunner on IPOs, follow-ons and CBs.
It has been particularly active in the real estate sector, but has also worked on a variety of deals in other sectors such as the Hong Kong listings of Haitong Securities and HKT Trust (the telecom business previously owned by PCCW); a combined placement and rights issue for Singapore supply chain manager and agricultural products processor Olam International; and a concurrent sale of shares and exchangeable bonds for Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Standard Chartered is also currently working on a fully-marketed re-IPO of San Miguel Pure Foods that could raise up to $209 million including the greenshoe option.
That said, Standard Chartered is different from most other investment banks, not just because it generates the bulk of its revenues from emerging markets, but because its approach to the business is a lot more client-driven. For instance, it is only offering ECM solutions and products to clients that it is already doing other business with or lending money to. The bulge-bracket firms tend to be more product-driven.
Douglas is leaving the bank at a time when the investment banking industry is struggling to adjust to a sharp drop in ECM volumes and revenues. In combination with a drop in fixed-income and equities trading and more restrictive capital requirements, this has triggered broad-based cost-cuts and job losses at most banks.
Similar to what happened during the global financial crisis, the decline in deal activity — and pay — has also prompted numerous bankers to pursue opportunities outside the industry.
Douglas, who has close to 30 years of investment banking experience, is said to be leaving the ECM business for good, but is supposedly going to continue working within the financial industry. According to a source, he is will be sharing his time between Asia and Europe.
Sources said he has agreed with Standard Chartered to stay on until the end of March and he will be helping to appoint his replacement. The bank is expected to look for suitable candidates both internally and externally. A spokesperson at Standard Chartered declined to comment.
Douglas has taken a break from the investment banking industry once before. In August 2008, only a couple of weeks before the firm was forced to file for bankruptcy, he resigned from Lehman Brothers to become CFO of Agrogeneration, a small French company that is involved in the redevelopment of agricultural land in Central and Eastern Europe.
Less than a year later, in May 2009, Standard Chartered lured him back. He was attracted by the bank’s strong position in the market as well as the chance to build up the ECM business.
Douglas joined Lehman Brothers in April 2002 and worked both in London and France before he transferred to Hong Kong in 2005 to head up the firm’s ECM team in Asia ex-Japan. In January 2008 he took on a new cross-divisional role where he was to provide leadership to both the investment banking and equity divisions. Before Lehman, he worked as an ECM banker at Credit Suisse First Boston and BZW.