UBS to merge Apac ECM, DCM divisions

The Swiss bank creates a single Asia-Pacific capital markets unit in effort to boost deals business. DCM chief Gaetano Bassolino will lead the merged unit.

UBS is to merge teams responsible for running equity and bond deals in Asia Pacific into a single newly-created unit, as the Swiss bank makes a fresh attempt to streamline operations and improve returns, according to an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia on Thursday.

The decision to combine its regional equity capital markets and debt capital markets franchises is designed to clear overlaps among investors and products, the bank said. By combing the two units, UBS said it should better serve its clients and enable more flexible allocation of resources.

A UBS spokesman confirmed the accuracy of the memo but declined to provide further comment, including whether any jobs would be lost or any further restructuring would take place.

"It is clear there are synergies that exist across ECM and DCM, such as overlapping investors and product crossover," David Chin, UBS's head of corporate client solutions (CCS) for Asia Pacific, said in the memo. "These changes are aimed at optimising our business in the region, serving clients more cohesively."

CCS is the investment banking arm of UBS, providing deal advisory as well as equity and debt underwriting to its clients.

With immediate effect, Gaetano Bassolino has been appointed to head the newly-created Asia-Pacific capital markets unit. Bassolino joined UBS in 2000, and relocated to Hong Kong from London in November 2015. He was most recently head of debt capital markets and client solutions for Asia Pacific.

In his new role, Bassolino, who is based in Hong Kong, will work closely with a group of ECM bankers, including head of cash ECM Peihao Huang and Selina Cheung, an ECM veteran responsible for Asia-into-US IPOs, and Andrea Cas‎ati, head of syndicate on cash ECM.

As part of the reshuffle, Hannah Malter will move into ECM to support Cheung on cross-border listings. Prior she joined UBS in 2006, Malter worked for Morgan Stanley.

UBS said the cross-border listing business was one of its key grow initiatives for 2018.

The changes come after UBS revealed last week it had been punished by the Hong Kong securities regulator in relation to its role as a sponsor of certain initial public offerings in the city. The city's securities regulator banned the Swiss bank for sponsoring any IPO in the city for 18 months and hit it with a hefty fine.

UBS said it would appeal against the decision by the Security and Futures Commission.

The changes also follow a shake-up in the leadership of UBS's Asia-Pacific mergers and acquisitions business in January. 

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