Barclays Capital has hired Jack Yee to head its equity syndicate desk in Asia, a position that has been missing in the bank’s aggressive build-up of its Asian equities franchise so far. Yee, who has previously held similar positions at Nomura and Lehman Brothers, starts his new job today.
There was already speculation that Yee would join Barclays when he left Nomura three months ago, but the UK bank has yet to confirm the hire. It has continued to add to its equity capital markets team during the past few months, however, and a spokesman did confirm last week that it brought on board Mille Cheng, formerly with Morgan Stanley, as a director covering China in July.
A source said that Cheng will effectively be head of China ECM and added that Barclays has also hired Purvesh Shah from UBS as head of India ECM. Shah is due to start in October. Another recent addition to the team is Nick Smith, who has transferred from London to become head of convertible bond (CB) origination for the region.
Including these latest hires, Barclays now has more than 20 bankers in its ECM team and insiders say it has reached a size that will enable it to be competitive and make the most of the opportunities in the region. The bank has acted as a bookrunner on several transactions so far this year and like most of its peers it also claims to have a healthy pipeline of deals, some of which are being held up due to the current poor market environment.
Transactions it has helped bring to market so far this year include the $700 million issue of global depositary receipts (GDR) for Korean polysilicon producer OCI, that it led together with Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland; a $500 million CB for Agile Property, for which it was one of five bookrunners; the $822 million Hong Kong IPO for aluminium producer China Hongqiao Group, where it worked alongside five other banks; and a $115 million CB that it arranged for Taiwanese hi-tech metals manufacturer Solar Applied Material Technology on a sole basis.
According to Dealogic, Barclays has been involved in the execution of 10 ECM deals year-to-date, which gives it $1.2 billion worth of league table credits and 23rd place in the league table ranking for Asia ex-Japan. While this is still quite far from the $3.2 billion worth of deals needed to qualify for a top 10 position, the bank has improved its ranking quite significantly from 32nd in 2010 and 43rd in 2009 when it first started to build its equity franchise.
While the bank got involved in equities in the US through its acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ American operations at the end of 2008, it has been building its Asian business organically and virtually from scratch. It hired its first banker to focus on traditional ECM business, such as origination of initial public offerings and placements, in April 2010 when it poached Deutsche Bank’s former head of equity syndicate for Asia, Jorge Munoz. Until that point, the bank’s ECM team had primarily been focusing on CBs.
In August last year, Munoz was appointed co-head of ECM together with Marco Schwartz, who transferred from the ECM team in London, where he covered the UK as well as financial institutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The pair has been hiring aggressively since.
Yee has spent his entire investment banking career with Nomura and Lehman Brothers. He joined Lehman in New York in 1997 in equities trading and in 2005 relocated to London for a job in equity syndicate. He stayed in London only about 18 months and then moved on to Hong Kong to run the syndicate for Asia Pacific. When Nomura bought Lehman’s Asian operations following the collapse of the US bank in September 2008, Yee chose to stay with the franchise and hence became an employee of Nomura. He continued to run the syndicate desk for Asia ex-Japan until his departure three months ago.