Mitsubishi debt hire

Mitsubishi UFJ hires Neil Arrowsmith to head Asia debt syndicate

Former RBS syndicate banker Neil Arrowsmith will be based in Hong Kong and is Mitsubishi UFJ's latest hire as it builds its debt platform in the region.

Neil Arrowsmith, previously a London-based director at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is set to join Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, the investment banking arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, as its head of debt syndicate for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan.

Arrowsmith will be based in Hong Kong in what is a new role for the Japanese bank. In his last role at RBS, Arrowsmith was a director of the investment-grade corporate syndicate team. Before transferring to London, he had also worked on RBS’s syndicate desk in Singapore. He is expected to start at Mitsubishi UFJ in early June.

The Mitsubishi group holds a 22.4% stake in Morgan Stanley and the two banks operate a securities joint venture in Japan, but the Japanese bank clearly has ambitions to build its own debt franchise in the region. In April last year, it hired Stephen Diao and Fernando Valte as managing directors and joint heads of Asia-Pacific capital markets, based in Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively. It also has a team of more than a dozen credit-specific salespeople in Hong Kong and Singapore. Arrowsmith is likely to report to Diao.

The Japanese bank is already a big lender — through its subsidiary Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ — but is keen to provide the full suite of debt financing services, including loans, bonds and convertible bonds. It is expected to leverage the relationships and balance sheet provided by its lending arm.

Being able to extend balance sheet has become increasingly important, especially as some European lenders have retreated from the region, and lending banks such as Standard Chartered and HSBC have used this to their advantage to win mandates.

Mitsubishi UFJ is active on yen-denominated bond deals, but the bank has been quiet on the dollar bond side in Asia. However, this year, it featured as a bookrunner on Hong Leong Bank’s $300 million bond and is also acting as a bookrunner on Indonesia Eximbank’s upcoming dollar bond. Roadshows conclude in London on Thursday.

Notably, Japanese banks have been trying to build up their Asian dollar debt franchises, with rival firm Nomura aggressively hiring debt bankers last year.

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