UBS poaches Magnus from Merrill

UBS appoints veteran Singapore banker Keith Magnus to head investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia.

UBS has hired Keith Magnus to head investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia. This is a newly created position at UBS as the Swiss bank tries to beef up coverage of the Asia-Pacific region.

Magnus will report to Matthew Hanning and David Chin, the joint heads of investment banking for Asia at UBS. Both are based in Hong Kong.

Magnus was earlier managing director and head of investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He started at Merrill Lynch in mid-2007.

Merrill was not available for comment. UBS declined to comment.

Magnus took up a newly created position at Merrill in mid-2007 intended to ensure a more integrated approach across all investment banking businesses. Magnus was hired to report to Sheldon Trainor who was then Merrill's Hong Kong-based head of Asian investment banking and origination.

In the past 12 months BoA Merrill has to its credit notable equity capital markets deals in Magnus's region: the S$1.84 billion ($1.28 billion) rights issue for Capitaland; a sole led S$712 million rights issue for Keppel Land; another sole led $525 million initial public offering for Bayan Resources; and a S$337 million rights issue for Starhill Global Reit.

During the course of his career, Magnus has also been head of country banking for Singapore at Deutsche Bank, playing a coverage and origination role for equity and M&A deals. Before joining Deutsche, Magnus worked for J.P. Morgan and before that for the Ministry of Defence in Singapore.

Southeast Asia has been a lucrative region for investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan who have earned healthy fees from the region. Mandates from Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation have also enhanced coffers. For example, Temasek's sale of three Singapore power generating companies during the course of 2007 ensured a leading league table position for joint advisers, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.

UBS has built a leading position in investment banking in Asia-Pacific but has had some churn in the ranks recently. In one of the most high-profile departures year-to-date, Robert Rankin, who was head of investment banking at UBS, left in March to take on the same job at Deutsche Bank. Hanning and Chin were promoted thereafter. Earlier Chin led UBS's financial institutions group and Hanning headed mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance.

As for BoA Merrill, as expected, post-merger change has been underway since Bank of America announced its takeover of Merrill Lynch in September. Some bankers have parachuted out due to uncertainties regarding the approach to investment banking post-integration. Others have been retrenched as the US bank has reduced headcount in line with a number of other investment banks.

Among those who have left or announced they are leaving BoA Merrill are: Jason Brand, Asia-Pacific president; Damian Chunilal, chief operating officer for the Pacific Rim and head of Pacific Rim investment banking; Jon Pratt, head of debt capital markets for Asia excluding Japan and Australia; Sheldon Trainor, vice-chairman of investment banking for Asia excluding Japan and Australia; Kalpana Desai, head of mergers and acquisitions for Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan); and Margaret Ren, who chaired the China investment banking business.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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