FIG banker Nina Zhou leaves Credit Suisse

Zhou is expected to join Barclays Capital, which continues to build its investment banking team in the region.

Nina Zhou, a director in Credit Suisse's financial institutions group in Asia-Pacific, has left the bank, and according to sources is expected to resurface at Barclays Capital after a period of gardening leave.

Barclays continues to hire aggressively as it aims to build up its investment banking presence in the region, including M&A and equities origination which traditionally have not been a focus for the UK bank. Coming from behind, Barclays is reportedly paying very competitive salaries to attract bankers from other firms.

For Credit Suisse, the loss of Zhou, who has been with the bank since 1998 and transferred to Asia in 2007, comes at a time when international banks are positioning themselves to win a role in the upcoming initial public offering of China Agricultural Bank -- the last of China's big four banks that is still unlisted. Because of its potential size, this is viewed as one of the key FIG mandates in Asia for the next few years. The Swiss bank, together with China International Capital Corp (CICC), Goldman Sachs and UBS, is also in the process of reviving the H-share IPO of China Pacific Insurance, a Chinese insurer that first tried to list in Hong Kong in March 2008 but was forced to withdraw after the market fell away and left the floor price (which is equal to CPI's A-share IPO price) too high to match.

However, Credit Suisse did bolster its FIG team in June when it hired Simon Yuan from Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong for a role as managing director and co-head of financial institutions Greater China coverage. At the time of Yuan's hire, Credit Suisse's Asia-Pacific head of FIG, Rob Jesudason, noted that the financial institutions business "is a cornerstone to further develop [the bank's] investment banking franchise in the region".

Zhou joined Credit Suisse in New York, but has been based in Hong Kong for the past couple of years. Among the transactions she has worked on since arriving in the region is the acquisition of Macau's Seng Heng Bank by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, where Credit Suisse advised the target.

At Barclays, Zhou will most likely work with Steven Sun, who joined the bank as a managing director of FIG for Asia-Pacific earlier this year after being poached from UBS in February. See the FinanceAsia story from February 18 for further details. Sun had spent nine years with UBS when he chose to join Barclays and before that had also worked with Merrill Lynch for a number of years. Since November last year, Barclays has also hired at least 10 new FIG bankers in Japan, several of whom are former Lehman Brothers bankers. 

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