Rothschild has hired Enoch Tan for its Asia debt advisory and restructuring team, based in Singapore, according to an announcement from the firm this week. Tan joined a team of eight professionals at the beginning of October and will work closely with Robert Schmitz, the team leader, to whom he'll also report.
Tan's appointment reflects Rothschild's continuing expansion of its debt restructuring resources at a time when other banks, law firms and specialist funds are doing the same in anticipation of rising stressed and distressed corporate situations in the region.
Tan comes straight from UBS Singapore where he was an executive director and senior originator in the alternative capital markets group. During his three years with UBS he was also responsible for the Swiss bank's private financing business in Asia. Prior to that, Tan spent three years at Deutsche Bank Singapore. He is a qualified lawyer and graduated from the National University of Singapore with an LLB (Hons).
Rothschild is a leading player within debt advisory and restructuring, which, the bank said in the press statement, "is an important element of [its] product offering -- setting it apart from the others in the industry". Rothschild is currently involved in several significant projects in the region, including the restructuring of Garuda Indonesia's debt. It is also advising Indonesian cement producer Semen Gresik on capital raisings.
Standard and Poor's assessed the prospects for distressed debt investment in Asia in a paper on October 7. The ratings agency tabulated a record 12 corporate defaults in the region this year [up until October 1], but pointed out that most of the default activity was concentrated in the first half of the year. Five of the defaults were the result of distressed exchanges, and "in these cases, investors agreed to fully or partially buy back outstanding debt (loans or bonds) at a substantial discount", S&P said.
But it warned that, "in comparison with a mature market such as the US, the distressed debt market in Asia is still in a formative stage. Many features considered routine in an established market...are not available in Asia. The market is still relatively fragmented, and the considerable diversity of the legal regimes in the region's countries adds complexity and creates some difficulties".