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Japan: Independents’ day

Independent M&A boutiques are sensing an opportunity in Japan as the country’s top corporate names increasingly look to firms not tied to large commercial banks when awarding cross-border mandates.

Leading the pack is GCA, a Japanese boutique launched in 2004 that won advisory roles on 2007’s two largest deals and also scooped one of Euromoney’s deals of the year awards for its ambitious merger with US peer Savvian. Now global M&A powerhouse Lazard is moving in, scooping up Tetsuya Kawano, former president of JPMorgan Securities Japan, to round off a spate of recent hires.

"Japanese clients are becoming more and more sophisticated," says Yasushi Hatakeyama, president and chief executive of Lazard’s Japanese investment banking subsidiary, Lazard Freres KK. "As global market conditions become more challenging, senior management face difficult strategic choices and we provide clients with the independent, objective advice that they need."

Tetsuya Kawano, Lazards

Tetsuya Kawano: an independent voice

Kawano is an experienced M&A banker, having spent eight years at Goldman Sachs before joining JPMorgan. He had already left that firm when Lazard came calling but securing his services in the small and insular world of Japanese M&A is still something of a coup.

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