MUFG poaches Augusto King from Jefferies

King joins as Asia-Pacific capital markets head as the Japanese firm expands footprint in Asia. Brings in former RBS colleague Kennis Wong.

Augusto King has joined MUFG’s securities arm as its head of debt capital markets in Asia Pacific excluding Japan as the Japanese megabank ramps up its presence across the region, according to a person familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

MUFG poached King from Jefferies where he was Asia head of DCM and leveraged finance for just over two years.

Before that King was the head of DCM Asia at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) where he helped establish the Scottish bank’s debt franchise in the region including its offshore renminbi business. King was with RBS nine years including at the old ABN Amro franchise.

King will continue to be based in Hong Kong with MUFG’s Mitsubishi UFJ Securities. The Japanese firm has tasked King with cross-selling products to its existing commercial banking clients across the region. However given King’s experience in helping non-Asian corporates tap pockets of liquidity in the region, such as the dim sum market, this is a business line that may grow for MUFG.  

He has inherited a team of 13 professionals, based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

King and his team, like much of the street, have previously been more focused on Southeast Asia. But going forward, Chinese issuers are likely to consume more of their time given the growth in deal volume and the number of frequent issuers.

Other debt franchises in Hong Kong are competing for talented DCM bankers but talent is thin on the ground and deal execution has been varied.

King has brought in Kennis Wong as head of Greater China DCM and made her responsible for origination and execution of bond deals for issuers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan including both financial institutions and corporates to help with the push in China.

Prior to that, she was a director of debt capital markets Asia at RBS for more than 8 years where she reported to King. 

Deep roots in the region

MUFG has deep roots in Asia dating back decades. The Bank of Tokyo, which merged with Mitsubishi Bank in 1996, was a particularly international organization among Japanese banks and had an extensive client roster in the region.

MUFG has been ramping up its international lending recently in Asia where there are faster growing companies than in its moribund domestic market.

The latest full-year financial results for Japan's megabanks underscored how overseas operations are growing in importance and helping to lift profitability.

However, credit rating agency Fitch pointed out foreign expansion - especially in emerging markets - will entail greater risk-taking.

MUFG registered a net profit in excess of 1 trillion yen, mainly attributable to contributions from its Thailand subsidiary Bank of Ayudhya. International operations account for 29% of gross operating profit while international loans account for 37% of total loans, Fitch estimated.

To mitigate risk MUFG has been hiring more foreigners such as Hong Kong-born King with knowledge of markets in Asia. Randy Chafetz was made executive officer of MUFG's main banking arm BTMU in 2013, the first ever foreigner to take such a high-ranking role at the firm.

Some foreigners have found it difficult to fit into the culture of Japanese banks but King already has some experience, he was a management trainee at another Japanese megabank Mizuho.

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