Goldman names Vella, Richdale Asia IBD co-heads

Appointment of co-heads to the investment banking division in Asia excluding Japan triggered by Matthew Westerman's imminent relocation to London.

Goldman Sachs has named Andrea Vella and Kate Richdale co-heads of its investment banking division in Asia excluding Japan, as replacements for Matthew Westerman who is moving back to London with the bank, according to internal memos seen by FinanceAsia

British national Westerman will relocate over the summer to become the chairman of the US bank’s investment banking division in EMEA, according to the memos which were signed by four of Goldman’s most senior partners, including the three co-heads of investment banking globally Richard Gnodde, David Solomon and John Waldron. 

Vella joined Goldman Sachs as a partner in 2007 and Richdale joined the bank as a partner in 2013. Earlier this year they were both made co-chief operating officers for IBD in Asia ex-Japan. A shared leadership structure is not unusual for Goldman in Asia; Westerman was until last year joint head with Dan Dees.

However the appointment of Vella to the top job in IBD does refelect the growing importance of his expertise in credit solutions at Goldman and in the industry as fees on public deals such as IPOs contract. Previous heads of IBD at Goldman in the region have all risen up through the ranks of the classic investment banking business, particularly from ECM. 

Goldman's investment banking division excludes its large equity and fixed income, currency and commodities (FICC) trading arms.

Goldman ranks first in terms of Asia excluding Japan in China’s red-hot A-share market for ECM year-to-date, according to Bloomberg analytics on Tuesday. It also tops the tables for M&A across Asia while in Asia ex-Japan G3 corporate high yield it comes in ninth.

“With Kate and Andrea's leadership, we look forward to the opportunity of building on this strong market position to drive commercial opportunities and revenue,” said Gnodde, Solomon Waldron and Asia ex-Japan president Ken Hitchner in one of the memos. 

Earlier this year Goldman trimmed headcount in Singapore.

Richdale’s rise

Goldman poached Richdale from Wall Street rival Morgan Stanley. She joined Goldman with the title head of investment banking services for Asia ex-Japan, working with coverage bankers across the region to nurture relationships with the region’s fast-growing blue chips. Since joining Goldman she has focused on China, working on numerous blocks, IPOs and cross-border M&As. 

Richdale worked at Morgan Stanley for 13 years. Her last title was Asia-Pacific head of investment banking at Morgan Stanley. She is widely respected for the relationships she has cultivated in the region; in particular, her ties to Temasek, Singapore’s state-owned investment company.

At the time of her move from Morgan Stanley she reported to Dees and Westerman. Dees moved to the US to become co-head of Goldman’s global technology, media and telecom (TMT) group.

Kate Richdale

Before taking over as sole head of investment banking in 2011, 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. Richdale earned an MA in Chinese Studies from Edinburgh University.

Derivatives expert

Vella is currently co-head of the financing group with Jonathan Penkin, a title he will keep.  

The financing group comprises all of Goldman’s capital markets departments and operates in close cooperation with other parts of the firm, including equities and FICC to structure and execute some of the largest and most complex financing and risk-management transactions.

The group was led by Dees between the end of 2007 and February 2012. Dees brought Vella from London to head credit capital markets in Asia-ex Japan and the derivatives business in Asia. He has been instrumental in building up Goldman's debt, structured finance and solutions business since his arrival in the region, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Prior to relocating to Asia in 2010, Vella led Goldman's 'New Markets' business in EMEA and was co-head of the FICC derivatives and investment grade businesses for corporate, supranational and sovereign clients in Europe. He joined Goldman as a partner in 2007.

Before Goldman, Vella was co-head of the Southern Europe and emerging markets team at JP Morgan. He started his career at JP Morgan, where he worked as an interest rate derivatives marketer in the context of risk management for EU-converging sovereigns and for insurance companies. Vella was later instrumental in the development of the credit derivatives market, focusing on correlation products and their application as retail and institutional investment products, leading the global credit derivatives structuring team.

Vella earned a laurea, cum laude, in aeronautical engineering from the University of Rome.

Westerman leaves

Westerman will continue to be responsible for some of the firm's most important clients globally, according to one of the memos.

Westerman moved to Hong Kong in 2012 as co-head of the investment banking division in Asia Pacific excluding Japan and became sole head in 2013. Prior to that he was global head of equity capital markets.

Westerman joined Goldman as a managing director in 2000 and was named partner in 2002.

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