Evercore poaches Keith Magnus for new Singapore office

Magnus, who is currently head of investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia at UBS, will become CEO of the Singapore business.

Evercore Partners, the independent investment banking advisory firm, has hired Keith Magnus from UBS to set up an office in Singapore.

Magnus is joining as a senior managing director and CEO of the new Singapore business and his key focus will be to provide strategic advice on M&A and capital markets transactions for companies in Singapore and Southeast Asia, Evercore said in a release.

He is currently chairman and head of Singapore and Malaysia investment banking at UBS and in the past decade he has also led investment banking practices at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, so it is a real experienced hand that Evercore is bringing on board.

The fact that it is able to do so is in part an acknowledgement of the work Evercore has done in Asia since it hired former Macquarie, Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers banker Stephen CuUnjieng as a senior adviser in 2009 to help build its business in the region. CuUnjieng has since been promoted to chairman for Asia.

The hire also comes as Southeast Asia continues to grow in importance with regard to both cross-border M&A deals and capital markets transactions. In the first half of this year, equity capital markets volume in Southeast Asia increased by 65% year-on-year to $19.1 billion — the highest first-half volume on record, Dealogic data show.

M&A volume increased slightly to $36.4 billion from $33.4 billion a year earlier.

Evercore has already been involved in a number of deals in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines where CuUnjieng has strong relationships, but the hire of Magnus shows that the firm is ready to step up its game in other Southeast Asian countries as well, particularly in Singapore.

“Keith has deep relationships in Singapore and across the region, extensive transaction experience as well as a strong reputation for integrity and for providing insightful, objective and independent advice,” said Ralph Schlosstein, Evercore’s president and CEO.

Together with Evercore’s office in Hong Kong and its strategic alliances in China, Japan, India and Korea, the new Singapore office will, once established, allow the firm to better serve both its Asian clients and its global clients with interests in Asia, Schlosstein added.

According to the Evercore release, Magnus has originated, overseen and executed more than 40 transactions during his time at UBS, many of which have been public transactions that have won industry accolades. He has advised on M&A and capital raisings for a wide range of companies and financial institutions, including the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), Temasek, Changi Airport Group, UOB Bank, Keppel, Wilmar, YTL, Olam and Bayan Resources.

In addition to his job as head of Singapore and Malaysia investment banking he also sat on UBS’s Singapore management committee.

Magnus was hired by UBS in mid-2009 as the Swiss bank tried to boost its coverage of Southeast Asia. Before that he held a similar role as head of investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (and its predecessor Merrill Lynch) for about two years.

During the course of his career, Magnus has also been head of country banking for Singapore at Deutsche Bank and has worked at J.P. Morgan and the Ministry of Defense in Singapore.

He sits on the board of the Sentosa Development Corp and is chairman of the finance and IT committee of the same company. He is also a member of a number of banking industry organisations.

New York-headquartered Evercore focuses on M&A and capital markets advisory, as well as private fund raisings and employs more than 500 bankers globally. It also provides institutional investors with research, sales and trading that is free of the potential conflicts created by proprietary activities. Its investment management business comprises wealth management, institutional asset management and private equity investing.

In Asia, it recently acted as a financial adviser to Cosco Capital, the holding company for a group of assets controlled by Philippine businessman Lucio Co, on the injection of a series of assets and the subsequent re-IPO, and advised Indonesian auto parts manufacturer Astra Otoparts on the acquisition of a 51% Stake in wheel rim manufacturer Pakoakuina.

In October last year it was one of four advisers to AIA on its $1.7 billion acquisition of ING’s insurance business in Malaysia.

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