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Phatra Securities takes its own path

Having had serial relationships with three global investment banking houses, all of which deals unravelled, Thai investment bank Phatra Securities can be forgiven for wanting to go it alone. Although the firm still enjoys good relations with one ex-partner, the new-found independence clearly suits its style.

"Even in the worst years, we've
never lost money"  Banyong
Pongpanich, Phatra.

PHATRA SECURITIES COMPANY has the tone of the local office of a bulge-bracket investment bank. Sober suits, including jackets, are worn despite the heat and the firm has smart but functional Bangkok offices. It even has a decent coffee machine. Its experience working with international banks has rubbed off on it, and not only in the corporate trimmings: Phatra is the leading institutional equities and corporate finance business in Thailand. "Even in the worst years, we've never lost money," says Banyong Pongpanich, chairman of Phatra. "Previously, the best year in our history was 2003 and in 2004 we managed even higher revenue."

Those revenues come from three core areas: securities broking in a joint venture with Merrill Lynch, including a full research product; corporate finance, including IPOs and advisory work; and a fledgling but fast-growing private-banking business. A focus on serving institutional clients is reflected in Phatra's league table rankings and market share statistics. Its 4% share of trade on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and league table position of six belie the fact that it has a 10% share of both foreign investors and local institutions.

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