Everyone knows everybody in Hong Kongs banking firmament.
So any time a bank can poach a senior member of staff or a team
from a rival firm, it immediately becomes the talk of the
This was the case last month when
Kate Richdale, head of investment banking for Asia Pacific at
Morgan Stanley, left the bank after 13 years to join
historical rival number one Goldman Sachs.
Goldman as head of investment banking services for Asia
ex-Japan and will take responsibility for client coverage in
Gossip about what the move meant was plentiful in the
restaurants and bars of the special administrative region.
Was it the culmination of years of
tension between Richdale and Wei Christianson, the co-chief
executive officer at Morgan Stanley in Asia with whom she had
endured a reportedly fraught relationship?
|Kate Richdale, head of investment banking for
Asia Pacific at Morgan Stanley, left the bank after 13
years to join historical rival number one Goldman
Does Richdales move say anything about the relative
fortunes of the two banks in the recent past or their prospects
for the future? Will it affect Morgan Stanleys
relationship with Temasek the Singaporean sovereign
wealth fund with which Richdale is known to enjoy close ties?
Sources close to Morgan Stanley suggested that Richdale was
being lined up for an internal move to a role that was less
management oriented and more client-focused playing to
what the banks management saw as her strengths.
But when told of the plan, the sources said, Richdale said she
would be making a similar switch in terms of her
responsibilities but the role would be a lucrative one at
Goldman Sachs, as a partner, rather than at Morgan Stanley.
As things stand, Morgan Stanley versus Goldman Sachs is not
quite the top-of-the-table clash that it was before the global
financial crisis hit. Latest figures show Goldman Sachs in
seventh place in the investment banking fee table over the year
to date and
Morgan Stanley in 11th place.
Their net revenues are $63 million and $41 million
respectively, compared with current market leader UBS with $130
million. Rival US banks are also some way clear of Goldman and
Morgan Stanley; Citi has revenues of $89 million putting it in
second place in the table; and JPMorgan occupies third spot
with revenues of $83 million.
Market sources said both firms, since becoming bank holding
companies, had been in a period of rebuilding, taking on more
traditional lending business in some cases.
Both banks are still among the handful of preferred M&A
advisers in the region frequently featuring in the top
three in that business.
Richdale had been head of investment banking for Asia
Pacific at Morgan Stanley since March 2011 and was co-head for
two years before this. She previously served as chief executive
for southeast Asia and head of global capital markets in
Singapore and before that head of investment banking for
southeast Asia at the US firm.
Richdale is replaced at Morgan Stanley by Dieter Turowski
and Shane Zhang, who will serve as co-heads of Asia Pacific
investment banking. Turowski was most recently global co-head
of natural resources and Zhang was co-head of China investment
At Goldman, Richdale will report to Dan Dees and Matthew
Westerman, co-heads of investment banking. Tim Leissner, former
Asia head of investment banking services, has been made
vice-chairman of investment banking for the region.
In a lively period for people moves, Bank of America Merrill
Lynch has hired two debt capital markets bankers from Credit
Suisse as part of a reorganization of its Asian bond and loan
Devesh Ashra will join as head of Asia debt capital markets
syndicate. Hital Desai will also move over from the Swiss bank
as part of the bond syndicate team.
And as Richdale arrives at Goldman following a break,
another veteran, Steven Barg, is set to leave Goldman in Asia
to take up a newly created role in New York. The equity capital
markets banker will move to the banks headquarters. It
comes just six months after he took on a senior role in
Barg will become head of M&A capital markets, a role
that will involve advising the firms clients on the
equity market implications of their merger and acquisitions
activities, according to reports.
It marks a return to the US for an American citizen who
spent his early career there.
Barg joined Goldman from UBS three years ago as co-head of
equity capital markets in Asia in Hong Kong.
Goldman hired him, like Richdale, as a partner not a
common occurrence for the US bank which famously prefers
to hire and promote from within. At the time, securing
Bargs services was viewed as a coup for Goldman as he had
been part of the team that propelled UBS to the top of the
equity capital markets business in Asia Pacific.