Morgan Stanley China IB chairman leaves

Alex To, Morgan Stanley’s chairman of China investment banking, is leaving the firm amid a flurry of movement within China investment banking.

Morgan Stanley’s chairman of China investment banking Alex To is leaving the firm, a spokesman for the US bank confirmed. To is currently on gardening leave and believed to be headed to a rival firm.

To had joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 and was a key senior banker involved in the coverage of Chinese pork producer WH Group. Morgan Stanley was one of two banks, the other being BOC International, which arranged WH Group’s $2.05 billion re-launched IPO in July, after the firm pared down the number of bookrunners from a record 29 to just two. BOC International had lent heavily to the company.

The US firm had advised WH Group (previously known as Shuanghui International) on its high-profile acquisition of US-listed Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion last year. In addition to WH Group, To’s main focus was on consumer and retail clients in China.

China, which drives much of the investment banking activity and revenue in the region, is a critical market for banks. Chinese companies have been active in offshore acquisitions and have also been tapping the debt capital markets heavily. In addition, banks are keen to play a role in the restructuring of Chinese state-owned enterprises and embracing of private capital.

There has been significant movement among the ranks of senior China investment bankers recently. In August, Jing Qian joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and head of China origination. Qian was previously the co-head of China investment banking at Deutsche Bank.

Meanwhile, in July, JP Morgan hired David Li as a senior country officer for China. Li was previously chairman and country head for China at UBS and had worked at the Swiss bank for nine years. 

In June, Credit Suisse appointed Steven Wang within its investment banking department as head of consumer, retail and healthcare for greater China, a newly created role for the bank. Prior to that, he was a managing director in the China investment banking team at UBS. 

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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