Goldman Sachs earlier this week created a leadership group for investment banking, comprising some of its most senior bankers across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) and Asia-Pacific to further strengthen its client coverage.
The team is called the IBS (investment banking services) leadership group and will be headed by Andy Gordon. Gordon currently heads the west region and global media investment banking for Goldman Sachs, based on the West Coast of the US. Gordon will work with John Weinberg and John Waldron, senior bankers within the investment banking division.
In an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia, Goldman Sachs said: "We will ask this group to assume coverage of a series of our most important franchise accounts, across industries and regions, in an effort to strengthen our footprint of trusted advisory relationships."
The group will "play an important role in influencing the compensation, promotion and overall career development of our IBS bankers," added the memo.
Appointed to the IBS leadership group in Asia-Pacific are Fred Hu, Tim Leissner and James McMurdo.
Hu is chairman of Greater China, responsible for the firm's China strategy and investment banking and is based in Hong Kong. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC. He has worked closely with the government of China on various initiatives.
Leissner is co-president of Goldman Sachs Singapore and head of investment banking for Southeast Asia. He moved to Singapore to take up his current position in 2006.
McMurdo is on the board of directors of Goldman's Australia joint venture, Goldman Sachs JB Were. He is currently co-head of the investment banking department for GSJBW, based in Sydney.
The three Asia appointments are in addition to 10 appointments to the IBS leadership group in the Americas, including Gordon, and seven in Emea. All the people named to the group will continue in their current jobs, but will play an additional role ensuring consistency and excellence of client coverage.
The Goldman Sachs approach to investment banking has never been about being all things to all people, rather it is a model of selectively focusing on a few target clients and then trying to monopolise their business. In Asia, a client like Li Ka-shing epitomises this approach -- last year Goldman banked millions of dollars from advising Li on the sale of his Israel and Australia telecommunications businesses. Those mandates came on the back of a host of other mandates from Li over the course of the past few years. And Goldman's telecommunications, media and technology group began this year with a mandate to take Hutchison Telecommunications private.
However, it is not easy to replicate the success Goldman has enjoyed with Li across clients. In Asia the US investment bank has had to grapple with a competitive arena, which includes non-traditional competitors as well as under-cutting on fees, which makes some deals less financially rewarding to work on. Some of this is changing. For example, many specialists predict that Indian companies which have hitherto not paid competitive fees on capital markets deals, are now accepting the need to pay top dollars for good advice.
"Throughout this financial crisis, we have maintained an unwavering focus on serving our clients. We believe staying close to our clients during periods of market turmoil reinforces the strength of our franchise. Our client relationships have been critical to our recent performance and will remain a key driver of our future performance," David Viniar, Goldman Sachs's chief financial officer, said at the bank's third-quarter earnings call last year, which is posted on seekingalpha.