UBS has appointed London-based Patrick Porritt as the new head of its financial institutions group (FIG) in Asia. He replaces Ren Wang, who left a couple of weeks ago to join Jefferies.
Porritt has been with UBS since 1997 and last year was named joint head of FIG for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea). He first joined the FIG Emea team in 1999 and, according to David Chin, UBS’s head of investment banking for Asia, he is a “seasoned FIG banker” who has worked on many cross-border transactions involving Asian companies. Hence, he is no stranger to the region.
His principal focus has been on the UK and Ireland, however, where he has been involved in a number of the biggest bank recapitalisations, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Ireland — experience that UBS hopes will be useful in Asia as well.
In an internal memo announcing the appointment, Chin and Matthew Hanning, head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific, noted that FIG is a critical sector for UBS, both globally and in Asia. The bank has been a leading FIG house in Asia in terms of volumes and fees in the past few years, and Chin himself was co-head of FIG for Asia before he took on the investment banking role.
Deals it has worked on this year include a Rmb50 billion ($7.8 billion) domestic bond for Agricultural Bank of China, which ranks as the largest single-tranche bond offering in Asia-Pacific ever. It was also a joint bookrunner on Chinese financial leasing company Far East Horizon’s $758 million IPO in Hong Kong.
Chin told FinanceAsia that the firm continues to view China as the biggest FIG opportunity in the region, given the size of the country and also the size of the deals generated by its banks and insurance companies. UBS currently has a number of mandates in the sector, including the pending A- and H-share IPO for New China Life Insurance, which is expected to raise at least $3 billion, and the Hong Kong IPO of China Everbright Bank, which is currently on hold, but might fetch as much as $5 billion.
It is also involved in China Merchants Bank’s upcoming $5.4 billion rights issue and China Minsheng Banking Corp’s combined offering of new H-shares and A-share convertible bonds, which received an in principal approval from the Chinese regulators last week and may raise up to $4.5 billion, based on current share prices.
In addition to China, UBS will continue to pay attention to intra-regional and other cross-border M&A transactions involving Asian companies, Chin said. Another key focus is the debt capital markets, particularly the domestic market in China where there is a lot of activity.
Porritt will relocate to Asia for his new role and will work closely with other senior members of the FIG team in the region, including Jimmy Wong, managing director of FIG Asia, and Aashish Kamat, who was hired in May as chairman of financial institutions coverage. Kamat has a background as chief financial officer, chief operating officer and global controller at various banks, including J.P. Morgan and Bank of America, and was brought on board to add a slightly different perspective to UBS’s FIG coverage — one that makes use of his knowledge in accounting, regulatory, risk and performance management, and capital allocation.
During his first two years with UBS, Porritt worked with the M&A group. He joined the Swiss bank from Robert Fleming.
Ren Wang had been running UBS’s FIG team in Asia since Chin was appointed co-head of investment banking for the region in March 2009 after the resignation of Robert Rankin. Chin has, however, remained heavily involved with this side of the business.
Wang will reportedly join Jefferies as president and head of investment banking and capital markets for Asia, and will be charged with building these areas for the New York-based bank as it continues to expand in Asia. He is due to start in November.