BoA Merrill hire

Gammons named head of Southeast Asia IB at BoA Merrill

Chris Gammons will take on the head of investment banking role alongside his current job as head of the Asia-Pacific financial sponsors group.
Chris Gammons, BoA Merrill

Chris Gammons has been appointed head of Southeast Asia investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, filling the position vacated by Tan Chong-Lee last month. Tan, who was head of corporate and investment banking for the region, left to join Temasek Holdings, reportedly as co-chief investment officer. He was hired from Goldman Sachs in October 2009.

Gammons, who rejoined BoA Merrill in March 2010, will retain his current position as head of the Asia-Pacific financial sponsors group, but will relocate to Singapore from Hong Kong as he takes on his new responsibilities. He will continue to report to Karim Assef, the bank’s global head of financial sponsors, and to Jayanti Bajpai and Jiro Seguchi, co-heads of investment banking for Asia-Pacific.

Gammons has lived and worked in Asia for more than 18 years, including a stint at Merrill Lynch in the late 1990s when he was a member of the corporate credit team and then the debt capital markets team. His primary focus then was on issuers in Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia so he is definitely no newcomer to the region. He also speaks Bahasa Indonesia.

Before rejoining BoA Merrill, he had been head of the Asia-Pacific financial entrepreneurs group at Citi since 2007. He has also held senior debt origination and debt capital markets positions at Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan.

While living in the permanent shadow of China, Southeast Asia is an important region for investment banks, not least because it is home to two of Asia’s biggest sovereign investment funds — Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC). Investors have also been putting more money into the region in the past couple of years and Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand were the top-performing equity markets in Asia last year. The same three markets have also lost less than other equity markets so far this year.

And while markets in general are tough right now, investment banking activity held up well in Southeast Asia in the first nine months this year. According to Dealogic, M&A volume increased 31% year-on-year to $59.1 billion, making it the second highest nine-month volume on record, and in the debt capital markets, investment-grade bond issuance reached a record nine-month volume of $27.1 billion. Equity capital markets activity fell 3% to $14.6 billion, but IPO volume, at $5.3 billion, was the highest ever for the January-September period.

BoA Merrill ranked fifth on both announced and completed M&A transactions in Southeast Asia in the first nine months, but didn’t make the top 10 in either ECM or DCM, leaving a lot of room for improvement as Gammons takes charge of the investment banking business in the region.

This year, the bank’s Southeast Asia track record includes Temasek’s $513 million Singapore dollar-denominated exchangeable bond this past week, which it led on a sole basis; a $1.3 billion rights issue and placement for Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri; and a $125 million tap of Indonesian real estate developer Lippo Karawaci’s 9% bond due in 2015.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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