Goldman Sachs has poached Kate Richdale, one of Asia’s most senior investment bankers, from Wall Street rival Morgan Stanley. She will join Goldman as a partner in June and is assuming the title of head of investment banking services for Asia ex-Japan.
“In this role, Kate will be responsible for covering clients in the region and for further strengthening our network of trusted advisory relationships,” said a memo sent to Goldman staff yesterday. “She will work closely with country, sector and product heads to drive our coverage strategy and further support our coverage bankers.”
Richdale has been Asia-Pacific head of investment banking at Morgan Stanley since March 2011 and is widely respected for the strength of the relationships she has cultivated in the region. In particular, her strong ties to Temasek, Singapore’s state-owned investment company, are the envy of rival bankers.
“If you could single out any one banker in the region who Goldman sees as a competitive threat, it would be Kate Richdale,” said one source. “So it’s a pretty good strategy to hire her.”
Goldman clearly had to roll out the red carpet to do so. Richdale has turned down an offer in the past, according to one source, but the lure of a Goldman partnership is a persuasive recruiting tool — and one that is sparingly used.
It is also a role that plays to her strengths as a relationship banker, though superficially it is a junior position to her job running investment banking at Morgan Stanley, with fewer management responsibilities.
However, Richdale may have ended up with a similar role had she stayed put, as Morgan Stanley had been looking to make management changes to its investment banking platform in the region, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The bank was certainly quick to announce new co-heads of Asia-Pacific investment banking: Dieter Turowski and Shane Zhang.
Turowski is a senior London-based banker who has been a managing director since 2000 and has worked at the firm since 1988, most recently as global co-head of natural resources. Zhang has been co-head of China investment banking since 2007.
In her new role, Richdale will report to Goldman’s co-heads of investment banking, Dan Dees and Matthew Westerman.
Though she may be losing some status in terms of her title, Richdale is moving to a strong platform. Goldman won our award for best investment bank in 2012 after a solid year on all fronts: it won in M&A, was very much in contention to win the equity award and, in a year where having a debt franchise mattered, it showed its all-around strength and was present on key debt deals as well.
It is also off to a good start in 2013. Goldman is leading the league tables for both equity capital markets and M&A, according to Dealogic data for Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan.
The addition of Richdale will make a strong team stronger, particularly in Southeast Asia, which has become an important market given the lack of mega-IPOs in Hong Kong.
She will join Goldman in June and will be based in Hong Kong. Tim Leissner, the current head of investment banking services, is relinquishing his title but will continue in more or less the same role.
Richdale worked at Morgan Stanley for 13 years. Before taking over as sole head of investment banking, she shared the role with Gokul Loria for two years. Her other leadership roles at Morgan Stanley included head of investment banking for Southeast Asia from 2003 to 2006, head of the Asia-Pacific global industrials group from 2007 to 2009 and chief executive of Southeast Asia.
She is the third senior banker to leave Morgan Stanley in Asia during the past year, after Jonathan Popper, head of Southeast Asia M&A, quit to join Temasek in January and Will McLane, head of the financial institutions group, left to join Citi in July.
The bank also let go of around 50 bankers in January, as part of the 1,600 jobs that it is cutting worldwide across its institutional securities group.