HSBC hires Paine as head of Asia equity syndicate

A 10-year ECM veteran of Lehman Brothers/Nomura, David Paine returns to Hong Kong from Japan to take up the position left vacant by Will Smiley's departure in January.

HSBC has hired David Paine as head of Asia equity syndicate, filling the position that was left open when William Smiley resigned in January to become co-head of equity syndicate at Goldman Sachs. The appointment, which is immediate, comes as HSBC said last week that it intends to increase its focus on equity capital markets in the region.

Paine is no newcomer either to the syndicate role or to the region, having worked at the Asia syndicate desks at both Lehman Brothers and UBS. For the past five years, however, he has been based in Tokyo, focusing primarily on the Japanese market.

He has spent the past decade working for Lehman Brothers and (following Lehman's demise in September 2008) Nomura Securities, and transferred from Hong Kong to Tokyo in 2004 to take up a role as head of equity capital markets and equity syndicate for Japan. In 2008 he assumed a broader role as managing director in Japan investment banking.

Between 1996 and 2000 he was head of Asia equity syndicate at UBS in Hong Kong and from 2000 to 2004 he held the same role at Lehman Brothers.

At HSBC, Paine will be responsible for the syndication and execution of equity-related issues across the region, including initial public offerings, rights issues, accelerated bookbuildings, block trades and pre-IPO financings.

"David's appointment demonstrates our commitment to advancing HSBCs equity capital markets business in the region," Frank Slevin, HSBC's head of global banking for Asia-Pacific, said in a written statement. "His expertise will enhance our capabilities in line with our emerging markets-led and financing-focused strategy."

While HSBC has cemented its position as a top underwriter of G3 debt issues across Asia (building on its dominant position in the Hong Kong market) in recent years, it is still lagging in equities. According to Dealogic, the bank hasn't made it into the top 10 for ECM issuance in Asia ex-Japan once in the past five years, although it did finish 10th for Asian IPOs in 2005 and 2007.

Whether the increased focus on ECM, as communicated to the Hong Kong media at a luncheon last week, will make a difference in that regard remains to be seen, but filling the syndicate role is at least a good start.

And according to Alexis Adamczyk, head of Asia ECM, there will be more hires across banking, distribution and ECM. The intention, he said, is to increase the bank's presence in the primary equity markets in order to capture a bigger share of the wallet.

"Asia is our home market and we need to be relevant and fully credible in all products," Adamczyk said.

The bank is off to a decent start this year, having done a $133 million Hong Kong IPO for Ruinian International, a provider of health-food products; a $132 million block in shampoo manufacturer Bawang International Group; and a $230 million convertible bond for Pacific Basin Shipping together with Goldman Sachs.

And like most other banks, it is said to have a strong pipeline, which further underscores the need for additional hires.

Paine's move to HSBC is the latest in a series of hires and transfers at the Asian equity syndicate desks in Hong Kong that have involved many of the major investment banks. Starting from the fourth quarter last year there have been changes or additions at the syndicate desks at UBS, Macquarie, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, and most recently Goldman Sachs.

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