Ross Baildon to replace Aird as head of ECM syndicate at Credit Suisse

Simon Aird's return to London comes at a time of heavy turnover at the equity syndicate desks in Hong Kong. The latest moves include the resignation of William Smiley from HSBC last week.
 Simon Aird
Simon Aird

Credit Suisse has announced internally that Ross Baildon, who is currently working for the firm in Australia, will move to Hong Kong to replace Simon Aird as head of equity syndicate for non-Japan Asia. Aird is returning to London in the second quarter to join the equity syndicate group focusing on Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as a senior managing director.

Aird, whose departure from Hong Kong has been planned for some time, will be responsible for new issue execution and the corporate trading group. The latter is essentially a monetisation desk that helps corporate broking clients with issues like share buybacks or unwinds that are too small to go through the capital markets. He will report to Tom Ahearne, who is head of EMEA equity syndicate.

Aird joined Credit Suisse in 2000 and has led the Asia syndicate desk since 2003, making him one of the longest serving equity syndicate bankers in Hong Kong. According to the internal announcement, he has overseen the distribution of more than 200 ECM transactions during his seven years in Asia and has helped clients in the region raise over $100 billion. Top transactions he has worked on include the initial public offerings of China Life Insurance, China Construction Bank and International and Commercial Bank of China, which were the largest IPOs globally in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively. More recently he was involved in China Pacific Insurance's listing in Hong Kong just before Christmas last year and Maxis's return to the Malaysian stock market in November, which was awarded by FinanceAsia as Deal of the Year and Best Equity Deal in 2009.

Aird's departure comes at a time of significant turnover among the equity syndicate bankers in Hong Kong, with senior level changes at the desks of several banks. As reported by FinanceAsia in November, Deutsche Bank has hired Sumeet Puri from Morgan Stanley in India to head up its ECM syndicate desk for Asia. Puri, who will take up his new job in early February, will replace Jorge Munoz who is moving to London in March to become head of the firm's equity syndicate for Europe. Meanwhile, Natalie Brink's departure for a job as head of equity syndicate at Standard Chartered late last year, opened up a position on Goldman Sachs's syndicate desk in Hong Kong, which has yet to be filled.

The syndicate desks at UBS and Macquarie have also seen senior level changes recently, as Hong Kong-based syndicate bankers have left the region to pursue new challenges in other parts of their respective firms. At UBS, Stuart Mackay transferred to Hong Kong from Europe in the fourth quarter last year to replace James Fleming as head of ECM syndicate for Asia. Fleming left Hong Kong in December for a new role as head of ECM syndicate for the Americas. In late May, UBS's then joint head of ECM syndicate for Asia, Sam Kendall, moved to London to become head of equity syndicate for EMEA and global head of blocks.

Meanwhile, Macquarie hired Jeremy Wernert, a former head of Hong Kong sales at Merrill Lynch, for a role as head of corporate broking and equity syndication for Asia. Wernert, who was most recently CEO of Stonebridge Asia, joined in October and is replacing Angus Firth who returned to Sydney at the beginning of this year after five years in Hong Kong -- the last two as head of syndicate.

And last Friday, William Smiley resigned as head of equity syndicate at HSBC, kicking off an external search for a replacement at that bank -- which if it ends up poaching a syndicate banker from another firm could trigger yet another round of musical chairs. Smiley has spent 10 years at HSBC and came to Asia for the first time at the end of 2005 to help out with the execution of the $2.5 billion initial public offering of Link Reit, which was the largest ever government privatisation in Hong Kong. He made a permanent move to Hong Kong and the Asia equity syndicate desk in the second quarter of 2006.

As of last night there was no confirmation of where Smiley is going, but sources say he is staying in Hong Kong and is likely to assume a similar role at a rival firm.

It is perhaps not surprising that these moves are happening now. The secondary equity market bottomed out in March last year and primary issuance was extremely active in the second half of last year, meaning these guys are leaving their respective banks on a firm footing as they move on to new challenges. Market talk suggests that Aird at Credit Suisse and Munoz at Deutsche Bank have been looking to move back to Europe for some time, but their plans were put on hold when the downturn hit. With the market recovery, there has also been an increasing number of block trades and several banks have been and are adjusting their syndicate resources to keep up with this business. According to sources last night, more syndicate changes are expected to be announced at other firms.

Ross Baildon
Ross Baildon
Ross Baildon, who is taking over from Aird as head of Credit Suisse's equity syndicate desk for non-Japan Asia, is currently head of equity syndicate for Australia and New Zealand in Sydney. In his new Hong Kong-based role he will report functionally to Ernesto Cruz, the firm's global head of equity capital markets, and regionally to Ali Naqvi, who is head of cash equities for non-Japan Asia.

Baildon joined Credit Suisse in 1998 from BZW. He was initially head of the Sydney equity sales desk before assuming a role as head of Australia equity sales. He joined the ECM team as head of Australia and New Zealand syndicate in 2004. Baildon has helped bring about several top IPOs for firms like Goodman Fielder, Dyno Nobel and Myer and has also been involved in some of the region's key rights offerings, including those for Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum.

His current role as head of ECM syndicate for Australia will be taken over by Ian Arnold, who has been with the Australia equity business at Credit Suisse for 20 years and is currently head of the sales desk, based in Melbourne. He will relocate to Sydney and will report to Campbell Lobb, head of ECM Australia, and Cruz for functional purposes, and to Jonathan Gurnsey, head of equities for Australia, when it comes to regional issues.

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