Deutsche Bank loses ECM syndicate banker

Hemant Sabherwal has left the German bank’s Asia-Pacific equity syndicate desk, the latest in a series of departures over the last twelve months.

Hemant Sabherwal, a senior banker in Deutsche Bank’s equity syndicate team in Hong Kong, has departed after five years, a source familiar with the situation told FinanceAsia.

Sabherwal is the latest in a string of bankers to leave the German bank's syndicate desk in the past 12 months. The bank’s head of equity syndicate, Sumeet Puri, left earlier this year, while director Yeone Fok departed last year.

Deutsche Bank appointed former Goldman Sachs executive director Simon Galvin to replace Puri and lead the equity syndicate team. On the deal origination front, the bank also hired Jason Cox from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who will co-head the team with former UBS banker Kefei Li.

Sabherwal is an experienced equity capital markets banker in Asia. Before joining Deutsche Bank in 2011, he spent nearly nine years in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s ECM team and another two years at Morgan Stanley.

On August 22 Deutsche Bank cut about 2% of its corporate finance staff in Asia. According to people familiar with the matter. One of them characterised the redundancies as a regular cull of underperformers and not part of the German bank's efforts to cut costs. 

Deutsche Bank had a fairly quiet 2015 in terms of equity deal origination and execution, which could be partly attributed to a number of senior banking departures including that of Henry Cai, executive chairman of Asia-Pacific corporate finance, as well as Southeast Asia head of investment banking Parvati Banati.

But the German bank has been able to refocus on the business this year after reshuffling its senior management to fill some of the voids. Last month, Deutsche Bank announced Werner Steinmuller as APAC chief executive, while James McMurdo was named head of corporate and investment banking late last year.

According to Dealogic, Deutsche Bank ranks fourth in terms of Asia ex-Japan ECM volume so far this year with $7.3 billion from 26 deals. It has almost doubled its market share to 4.9% from 2.6% last year.  

Equity deals that Deutsche Bank has completed this year include China Development Bank Financial Leasing’s $799 million initial public offering, as well as Manulife US Reit’s $470 million Singapore IPO and Cikarang Listrindo’s Rp3.6 trillion ($272 million) listing in Jakarta.

Deutsche Bank is by no means the only bank to see equity syndicate banking departures. A number of bulge-bracket investment banks including Goldman Sachs, UBS, Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have also had equity syndicate bankers leaving this year.

The departures come as European and US investment banks take a new approach to equity syndication in Asia in the face of rising competition from Chinese investment banks.

Dealogic data shows eight out of the top 10 banks in the Asia ex-Japan ECM league table are Chinese banks, underscoring their increasing participation in the business that was once dominated by foreign banks.

In the face of such competition, foreign banks now tend to run a smaller equity syndicate team and keep a few key bankers who understand the investors and the execution process well.

Some banks have also brought syndication responsibilities together with origination, which means the bankers involved are tasked with both client-facing and investor-facing roles.

Additional reporting by Alison Tudor-Ackroyd

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