UBS names Harding-Jones Asia-Pacific M&A head

The bank transfers a senior banker to head M&A in Asia-Pacific, partly replacing Stephen Gore who left in 2012, as M&A volumes pick up in the region.

UBS has named Alison Harding-Jones as its head of M&A advisory Asia-Pacific, according to an internal note seen by FinanceAsia. A UBS spokesman confirmed the contents of the note.

The Swiss bank is internally transferring a senior banker to its M&A franchise in the region at a time when M&A volumes have risen with Chinese companies back in buying mode and the reorganisation of sprawling state-owned enterprises offering opportunities for banks.

Australia has also proven to be fertile hunting ground for Asian companies while the Australian government is planning to sell billions of dollars worth of infrastructure assets to the private sector.

The memo was signed by Matthew Hanning, head of corporate client solutions (CCS) Asia-Pacific. Harding-Jones will be based in Hong Kong from January and will report to Hanning. Samson Lo remains the head of M&A Asia.

Harding-Jones has worked at UBS for more than 20 years, including more than 12 years working on the firm’s M&A business in Europe, the Middle East & Africa (Emea). She co-headed the Emea M&A business through 2012 and then assumed responsibility for corporate client solutions in Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

In her new role, Alison will work closely with country and sector teams in Asia Pacific and globally, the memo said.

The position is a new one at the Swiss bank but Harding-Jones partly replaces Stephen Gore, who left the bank in August 2012 to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its head of M&A for Asia-Pacific. Gore was previously head of M&A for Asia ex-Japan and head of the corporate finance group for Asia, so Harding-Jones has a broader remit regionally but a smaller one in terms of products.

When Gore left, it was a surprise to the market that UBS did not replace him. The M&A team subsequently saw another departure this year, when Philip Partnow, a managing director within UBS' China mergers and acquisitions team left the firm in June. Partnow had helped to establish UBS Securities’ China venture in 2006.

As M&A volumes for Asia Pacific have risen this year, UBS’ ranking has fallen on the league tables. According to data provider Dealogic, Asia Pacific targeted volumes so far this year have chalked up to $672 billion, the highest level since 2007. UBS was placed ninth in Asia Pacific M&A league tables in 2014, falling back from fourth position in 2013 and sixth position in 2012.

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