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Caspian Securities: Casualty of volatile markets

"Caspian has never been in better shape to take advantage of market conditions in the whole of its history." So said Caspian Securities' founder, Christopher Heath, speaking to Euromoney in March of this year. Four months on and Caspian, the investment bank dedicated solely to emerging markets, is no more.

His interview with Euromoney (headline: Bolstered against the Asian storm?)was abruptly followed by his stepping down as chief executive of the firm - although there is no suggestion that the two were connected - with Anthony Walton taking the reins in what must be one of the shortest appointments of the veteran banker's career. At the time senior sources denied that Heath's departure from the chief executive's role was in any way related to market volatility.

Since announcing the decision to sell or close its businesses, Caspian's senior management has pulled down the PR shutters. A short press statement from Walton says only that the bank remains strongly capitalized and the board has agreed that the best use of that capital is repatriation to shareholders. The 40 partners in Caspian all own equity in the bank.

Perhaps the most telling sentence of the press statement is the observation that "Caspian was built for market conditions that do not prevail today".

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