Goldman’s Richdale latest to leave investment banking

Extending the streak of senior bankers who have left banking in recent years, the former Goldman Sachs co-chairman of Asia ex-Japan investment banking has joined private equity firm KKR.

Goldman Sachs’ Kate Richdale is the latest high-profile investment banker in Asia to leave the banking industry. KKR said on Monday that it had hired the veteran rainmaker as its head of strategy and business development in Asia-Pacific.

Richdale is putting an end to her investment banking career after 25 years in the industry, including a 13-year stint with Morgan Stanley and another six years with Goldman Sachs. She was most recently co-chairman of Asia ex-Japan investment banking with the US investment bank.

Her departure extends the list of management-level investment bankers that have moved to the buyside or into the corporate sector as Asia’s investment banking industry becomes increasingly competitive, and compliance is stricter than ever.

Besides Goldman Sachs, UBS, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan have also seen management-level investment bankers make an exit over the last two years.

Brian Gu, JP Morgan’s former chairman of Asia-Pacific investment banking, joined Chinese electric car startup Xpeng Motors in March last year.

That was two months after Asia-based private equity fund Hillhouse Capital poached Mervyn Chow, Credit Suisse’s ex-Greater China CEO and co-head of Asia Pacific investment banking, as a partner in January.

In 2017, UBS lost its Asia-Pacific head of investment banking, Joseph Chee, after he resigned to set up his own fund.

Some of these top-level bankers left at a time when their jobs were getting more difficult amid tighter regulations.

Richdale, for instance, is leaving Goldman Sachs as the US bank remains embroiled in the multi-billion-dollar money laundering and corruption scandal which involves Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

UBS’ Chee left the Swiss bank shortly after his firm was probed by Hong Kong’s securities regulator for its role as a sponsor of certain IPOs two years ago.

Besides management-level bankers, senior investment bankers across different products and industries have also decided to make a switch away from banking in recent years.

Andrew Huang, former head of China mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs, left the firm to join Chinese private equity fund FountainVest Partners in May 2017.

That was about the same time when Piyush Gupta, Deutsche Bank's head of TMT in Southeast Asia and India, moved to Sequoia Capital to become head of strategic development.

And Damien Brosnan, former Asia-Pacific co-head of ECM solutions at UBS, departed the Swiss bank and joined Maven Investment Partners as a portfolio manager.

Rupert Mitchell, former co-head of Asia-Pacific equity syndicate at Goldman Sachs, left the bank in January 2017 and is now the chief strategy officer of WM-Motor, a Chinese electric vehicle startup.

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