Merrill Lynch has further strengthened its China investment banking team with the hire of Rodney Tsang, according to market sources. Tsang will join an expanding team at Merrill, which earlier this month hired Margaret Ren as a chairman of China investment banking.
Indeed, while Ren will focus her energies on SOEs and government privatisation mandates, Tsang will head up Merrill’s efforts to win mandates from Chinese private sector firms. The US firm sees this as a major area of growth, and wishes to follow up on the success of deals such as Nine Dragons IPO last year – which it joint lead managed.
Tsang, who joins as a managing director, was formerly at Credit Suisse where he also specialised in covering China’s private sector, and reported to Zhang Liping, the chairman of China investment banking.
For Tsang this represents a return to his old firm, having been an analyst at Merrill in the mid-1990s. After a stint at Bear Stearns, he later joined Credit Suisse where he eventually became a managing director. At Credit Suisse, he was part of the drive that saw the Swiss firm rise swiftly up the league tables for China investment banking deals.
It is reckoned that one of his attractions for Merrill is that Tsang is able to perform the somewhat hybrid role that is increasingly expected of bankers covering China’s private sector. No longer simply corporate financiers, such bankers are also increasingly expected to source principal investments for their firms – these can include equity stakes as well as complex mezzanine financings in which the bank takes a position alongside, for example, hedge fund clients.
With the back-to-back hires of Ren and Tsang, Merrill has made clear its ambitions for its China franchise in the coming year. Both bankers will report to Erh Fei Liu, the chairman of Merrill Lynch China region and Sheldon Trainor, the head of Asia investment banking.