Terence Keyes returns to Morgan Stanley

The investment banker resigns from Merrill Lynch after less than a year to rejoin the bank where he spent 11 of his past 12 years.

Investment banker Terence Keyes has resigned from Merrill Lynch less than a year after he joined and will return to his previous employer, Morgan Stanley, sources said Friday. Keyes, who had been with Morgan Stanley for 11 years at the time he left and was one of its most senior investment bankers in the region, rejoins at a time when the US bank has just changed the leadership of its investment banking division in Asia-Pacific following the departure two weeks ago of its former head, Matthew Ginsburg.

Sources say Keyes will report to the two new co-heads of investment banking in the region, Gokul Laroia and Kate Richdale, and will assume a "similar" position to that he held at Merrill. His exact title has yet to worked out though. Keyes will embark on a period of gardening leave, and is expected to start work at Morgan Stanley in three months.

Keyes was hired by Merrill in mid-April 2008 as managing director and head of Asia corporate finance execution, and physically came on board in mid-July. Early this year, following Bank of America's takeover of Merrill Lynch, his title was changed to head of the general execution group.

When he left Morgan Stanley last year, he was a managing director in the Asia-Pacific investment banking division, with a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions. During his 11 years with the bank, he was involved in many of its largest and most complicated deals across asset classes, including the initial public offering of China Construction Bank -- the first of China's big four banks to go public.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 1997 he headed up the Asia advisory group at SBC Warburg in Hong Kong. He moved to Hong Kong with Warburg in 1994.

While it is unclear why Keyes has decided to leave Merrill after such a short time -- he wasn't available for comment -- the US investment bank has obviously undergone a lot of changes since he first came on board. Not only has the ultimate ownership shifted, making Merrill part of a larger universal banking group with relatively less experience in Asia, but there have also been numerous personnel changes at the top of the investment banking division, which may have played a role.

While Ginsburg is gone, the move back to Morgan Stanley will still see Keyes rejoin a group of familiar faces. Both Laroia and Richdale have been with Morgan Stanley as long as he has and the fact that he is choosing to return suggests that he feels that this firm is a better fit for him when Merrill is still trying to find its feet after the BoA takeover. 

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