RBS makes four senior IBD appointments

Royal Bank of Scotland continues to grow its Asian investment banking business, hiring two new executives and promoting two others.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said yesterday that it has made two new hires for its Asian investment banking division (IBD) and promoted two existing employees.

Viral Gathani will join the UK lender as head of energy and resources for Asia in early June, while Wu Gang has already come on board as co-head of the global industrials group (GIG), also for Asia. Both will be based in Hong Kong and report to Meighen Robertson, head of sectors, Asia.

Gathani will be responsible for driving the growth of the bank's energy and resources sector across debt, equity and advisory products throughout the region. He comes from private equity firm Warburg Pincus in Hong Kong where he helped build a regional portfolio with an emphasis on natural resources and industrial sector investments. He has more than 16 years' experience in investment banking and private equity, most of it spent in Asia.

Wu previously worked at HSBC in London and Hong Kong where he was a managing director in the cross-border advisory group, focusing on originating and guiding inbound and outbound M&A transactions in Asia -- especially China -- across different industry sectors. He has also held senior positions at Merrill Lynch and ABN AMRO.

Wu will be jointly responsible for building the bank's Asian GIG sector in partnership with co-head Raghu Narain, who has been promoted from his previous job as head of transportation, infrastructure and gaming. Narain jumped to RBS from Bank of America in 2008, and has 12 years' experience in the business in North America and Asia.

Finally, Sydney-based Lani Frew has been given responsibility for covering the power and utilities sector for the whole of Asia alongside her current role as co-head of infrastructure, utilities and energy for Australia. Frew, who will report to Gathani, has over 14 years' experience in the power, utilities and oil and gas sectors and has worked on numerous transactions in Asia in recent years. She has held senior roles in principal investment, client coverage and project finance at Commonwealth Bank of Australia and in investment banking at RBS.

Commenting on the appointments, John Mullins, regional head of banking, said: "RBS has been investing heavily in many areas of its banking business with a number of high profile hires across countries, sectors and products. With these latest senior sector appointments, we have enhanced our investment banking capabilities even further, which demonstrates our deep commitment to providing world class banking services to our clients in Asia-Pacific."

Earlier this month, RBS hired Julian Cheong, a Goldman Sachs alumni, to head its Southeast Asia banking business, and in March it brought in 30-year veteran Ernfred Olsen to be its head of global banking and markets in Tokyo, as well as Japan country manager. A third high-profile catch was Sean Cho, who left Macquarie Securities in January to lead RBS's Korea investment banking operation.

"We are continuing to grow our Asian investment banking presence across products, sectors and countries. Over the past few months, we have made a number of significant strategic hires and we will continue to build the team as appropriate," Meighen Robertson told FinanceAsia

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