Nomura hires Mark Leahy to lead DCM growth in Asia

Former Deutsche banker Mark Leahy joins Nomura in a dual debt origination and syndicate role, replacing Graham Conran and Dermot Mayes.

Mark Leahy has joined Nomura as its new head of debt origination and fixed-income syndicate for Asia ex-Japan, a move that will bolster the Japanese bank’s efforts to build its debt capital markets platform in Asia.

In this newly created dual role, Leahy will replace Graham Conran, who left the bank last Wednesday, and Dermot Mayes, who left the bank more than a week ago. Conran was previously a managing director and head of debt origination for Asia ex-Japan, while Mayes was the head of fixed-income syndicate for Asia ex-Japan.

Leahy, who is 42, is a familiar face among debt bankers, having previously run Deutsche Bank’s debt syndication business. He left Deutsche Bank in the first quarter of 2009 — after five years with the firm — to spend more time with his family. After moving to Australia and taking a two-year break from the industry, he is now returning to Asia and joining Nomura in June.

“I’ve been living on a vineyard in rural Australia for the past two years, making wine and spending time with my family as well as co-founding a wealth management start-up. The sabbatical was always going to be just that. Now that the right opportunity has came along, I’ve decided to return to the market,” said Leahy.

“The firm’s commitment to the region and the strength of the management team really appealed to me. This opportunity has me excited about coming back to Asia,” he added.

Unlike Conran and Mayes, who were both based in Hong Kong, Leahy will be based in Singapore. However, given his dual role covering both debt origination and syndication, he plans to travel extensively and will be spending quite a bit of time in Hong Kong as well.

Leahy will report jointly in the region to Jai Rajpal, head of fixed income for Asia ex-Japan, and Patrick Schmitz-Mortkramer, head of investment banking for Asia ex-Japan. Globally, he will report to Philippe Dufournier, head of global finance.

While Leahy held a purely syndicate role when he worked at Deutsche in Singapore, he is a seasoned hand in the debt markets.

“Leahy is world class,” said one source. “He’s been around for a long time and can probably originate a deal better than 80% of the people who are currently originating deals.”

Leahy is re-joining the market at a good time. Bond issuance in Asia swelled to record levels in the first quarter of this year, in marked contrast to the market he left in 2009, when volumes had fallen off a cliff.

Before working at Deutsche, Leahy was head of fixed-income syndicate for Asia ex-Japan at UBS, from 2001 to 2004, and head of European sales at EnronCredit in London from 2000 to 2001.

Most recently, Leahy co-founded and was a managing director of Arrive Private Investments, a start-up brokerage business within the Arrive Wealth Management group in Melbourne.

“This appointment will bring the firm’s investment banking and fixed income businesses even closer together to deliver the most effective and comprehensive product offering to clients. We are confident that Mark, in this dual role, will help accelerate our momentum and further expand our footprint,” said Schmitz-Morkramer in a release.

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