Moelis and Company, a boutique US investment bank, has made a high-profile hire, bringing on board Patrick Loftus-Hills, who was joint head of the Asian industrials group and head of natural resources at UBS, as the third managing director in its recently launched Hong Kong office.
Loftus-Hills joins Moelis as a managing director in metals and mining, working alongside sector bankers Mark Henkels, who is also an MD, and Mark Aedy, who heads investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as covering the metals and mining sector.
"We have seen considerable growth in cross-border metals and mining M&A activity over the past 10 years as the industry has consolidated and rationalised,” said Ken Moelis, chief executive officer of Moelis, in a written statement. “Patrick’s significant experience and deep relationships in the metals and mining industry, and experience working in the major mining finance centres of the world, will provide clients with global knowledge and perspectives."
UBS is losing an 11-year veteran. Before moving to Hong Kong, Loftus-Hills was responsible for mining in the Americas, based in New York, and has also worked in the mining team at UBS in Australia. Before he joined UBS, Loftus-Hills worked with Macquarie Bank and at BHP Billiton, bringing a valuable blend of industry and banking experience.
Asia has been a hotbed of activity for deals in the mining sector during the past few years. A number of the China outbound M&A deals, especially into Australia and Latin America, have been in natural resources as China seeks to gain a foothold in global natural resources plays. And mining companies have also been active in the capital markets as they seek to fund their development efforts.
Last week, Ken Moelis said the firm was keeping a close watch on opportunities in the metals and mining sector, and that having an office in Asia will enable it to give better advice to its clients in the US. Moelis was in Hong Kong as part of Moelis’s acquisition of Asia Pacific Advisers, which it announced in January. The deal saw APA, a financial advisory firm founded by ABN Amro/Royal Bank of Scotland banker Richard Orders, fold into Moelis. Orders and his colleague Bert Grisel became partners and managing directors of Moelis. Loftus-Hills will now be the bank’s third managing director in Hong Kong.
Ken Moelis added last week that senior staff are attracted to Moelis by the opportunity to work at a boutique firm where senior resources spend their time building and nurturing relationships for the long term, and are not driven by short-term revenue pressure. Ken Moelis was himself a career UBS banker who joined the Swiss bank in 2001 and was president of UBS investment bank in 2007 when he left.
There is also a perception on the street that many UBS bankers are actively seeking other opportunities as its investment-banking bonus pool has never recovered from the dip it took in the aftermath of the subprime-sparked crisis of 2008. However, sources close to the situation refute this, suggesting that rainmakers at UBS are still earning amounts comparable to their peers. Some sources not close to the situation speculated that Loftus-Hills, who is on gardening leave until July, might ultimately be interested in moving closer to Moelis’s headquarters in the US. And his expertise in Asia positions him well to do this.
A UBS spokesperson said the bank would announce a successor to Loftus-Hills in due course.