UBS lures Deutsche veteran to boost M&A firepower

Anticipating strong deal flow into next year, Swiss bank adds rainmaker for new post in M&A advisory business. It hopes outbound deal-making will make up for tepid capital markets.

UBS has moved to bolster its deal-making capacity by hiring veteran rainmaker Pei Shen Chou as co-head of mergers and acquisitions in Asia, according to an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia.

Chou was Deutsche Bank’s head of China M&A before the move and is now on gardening leave before starting his new role at the Swiss bank in February, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The appointment of Chou means the Swiss bank will add a new headcount to its M&A division,  headed by Samson Lo. Lo will share the title of Asia M&A head with Chou.

Both Chou and Lo will report to Alison Harding-Jones, UBS’s head of Asia-Pacific M&A Advisory, who was appointed to her role in December 2014.

UBS is adding firepower in the M&A advisory business amid explosive growth in deal flow this year, as total announced Asia outbound M&A volume exceeds $200 billion for the first time ever.

With the appointment of the China-focused Chou, the Swiss bank appears to be targeting the rich appetite of Chinese companies to go abroad for acquisitions – even as regulators step up scrutiny of such deals.

“This is an important strategic hire for UBS in Asia to strengthen and deepen our Asia M&A leadership given the growth in Asia M&A fee pools and to further build on our recent success,” Harding-Jones said in the memo.  

Rising M&A volume and fees are expected to make up for the relatively tepid equity and debt capital markets, which are clouded by political and interest rate uncertainties going into next year.

According to a person familiar with the situation, UBS has reduced headcounts for junior staff in the equity capital markets team throughout this year. For DCM, UBS saw the departures last month of Patrick Liu and Paul Au, its head of debt origination and syndicate head in Asia ex-Japan respectively.

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