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Ajeya Singh, Head of India, Lehman Brothers

Is he Lehman Brothers' most well-born banker? Ajeya Singh will inherit the title 'Raja of Manda' from his father. That will make him quite possibly the world's only investment banking maharajah.

Not that he has any land. When his father was 25 he gifted all his estates in a radical land redistribution to the poor. The younger Singh, who is 41st in a line that dates back to 1080, runs Lehman's Indian operations and is well known for his connections. He has been responsible for gaining the US firm some of the choicest mandates to come out of the subcontinent such as a $370 million global depositary receipt (GDR) issue for State Bank of India in 1996.

He was raised in India's royal school, the Mayo College, but knew the aristocratic life of his ancestors was no longer an option for him so he headed for England where he started out as an accountant. He quickly aspired to investment banking.

He recalls speaking to a headhunter in 1983 at a time when the City of London was a lot less meritocratic than it is today. The headhunter told him: "With a name like Singh you don't have a hope in hell."

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