RBS appoints John D'Abo head of equity syndicate

The move is part of a broader reshuffle of the ECM team that has also seen Dilip Kadambi take over D'Abo's former role as head of ECM for Southeast Asia and the transfer of corporate finance banker Deepak Chokhani to ECM in India.

Royal Bank of Scotland has made a quiet reshuffle of its equity capital markets team in Asia, which includes the appointment of Asia ECM veteran John D’Abo to run the equity syndicate desk. D’Abo joined RBS in July 2008 as head of ECM for Southeast Asia – a role that he held until December last year, when he shifted his attention to syndicate.

The reshuffle was prompted by the departure of Patrick Ngan in December. Ngan had been head of equity syndicate since June last year when he took over from Rene Mijne, who transferred to RBS’s US headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, to head up a new syndicate function focusing primarily on convertible bonds and other equity-linked transactions. Earlier this month, Ngan joined the private bank division at UBS as an executive director and client adviser in the ultra-high-net-worth segment.

D’Abo, whose new title is head of Asian equity syndicate, blocks and Hong Kong listings, has 20 years of ECM experience and has spent close to 15 years in Asia. Before joining RBS he worked three years at Credit Suisse where he was responsible for equity origination in Southeast Asia. And before that he was a director within the ECM team and head of syndicate at CLSA. With his background and significant client contacts he will bring what an internal source referred to as “much needed experience and weight” to RBS’s equity syndicate in Asia.

He will continue to be based in Hong Kong (he never formally moved to Singapore even though he ran the ECM business for Southeast Asia) and will be assisted on the syndicate desk by Simon Moss, who has worked on the desk since April last year when he relocated to Hong Kong from RBS in Australia.

D’Abo’s previous position as head of ECM for Southeast Asia has been assumed by Dilip Kadambi, who has taken on this role in addition to his existing job as head of ECM for India. He has, however, relocated to Singapore from Mumbai in connection with his new appointment. Kadambi has been an ECM banker for more than 15 years and is described internally as “critical” to the building of RBS’s ECM franchise in India. Before he joined the UK bank in 2004, he worked at Kotak Mahindra Capital, which was then a joint venture between Kotak Mahindra and Goldman Sachs in India.

To take some pressure off Kadambi in India following his expanded regional role, Deepak Chokhani has transferred from corporate finance to ECM with the aim of helping to enhance the bank’s Indian franchise. Chokhani, who will be reporting to Kadambi, has been with the firm for more than 10 years and has participated in the majority of its ECM deals in India. Prior to joining RBS, he worked with the corporate finance team at Shell India.

The reshuffle comes four months after RBS brought back Matthew Kirkby to the region to become head of global banking for Asia-Pacific. His new job has put him in charge of investment banking, including M&A and corporate finance advisory; equity and debt capital markets origination; and treasury and investor products. He has also retained the role as global head of corporate finance, which is part of the job he has done during his four years with ABN AMRO and RBS in London.

Shortly after Kirkby’s return to Hong Kong, RBS announced a new management organisation for Asia-Pacific, which included the appointment of Manoj Agarwal as head of corporate finance for Asia-Pacific, as well as interim head of equities origination for Asia. His latter role filled the vacancy left by former head of Asia ECM, Stanley Ho, who resigned in early September after just three months in the job.

D’Abo, who will report to Agarwal, can be expected to back up his immediate boss and Kirkby in their efforts to rebuild the bank’s ECM franchise in Asia after a few lacklustre years when the business was suffering from the uncertainty surrounding RBS’s takeover of ABN AMRO.

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