HONG KONG (Reuters) - Four top former Asia-based Barclays Plc (BARC.L) investment bankers, who left last year in the British bank’s global cull, are setting up a new cross-border advisory firm, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The four - Ed King, Johan Leven, Helge Weiner-Trapness and Peter Ding - are well known in Asia and have previously worked together in other Wall Street banks. The founders of the new firm, who declined to comment, each have about 25 years of experience in investment banking.
The people with knowledge of the matter declined to be identified because the details were not yet public.
The new bank will focus on advising companies on cross-border deals and is the first high-profile launch of a boutique advisory firm in Asia in a long time. It comes as independent firms are beginning to make an impact in the region, climbing financial advisory league tables as big global firms scale back their investment banking footprint to cut down on costs.
Last year Lazard (LAZ.N), one of the world’s biggest independent investment banks, finished twelfth among advisors on mergers in the Asia-Pacific region, up from 15th in 2013 and 34th in 2012. Rival Moelis & Co (MC.N) ranks 9th in deals announced so far this year, up from 52nd at the end of last year.
All four of the bankers left Barclays’ Hong Kong hub last summer as Chief Executive Antony Jenkins announced plans to cut 7,000 jobs worldwide to save costs. The four were among Barclays’ top executives in the region prior to their departures.
Prior to joining Barclays, King led Morgan Stanley’s Asian mergers and acquisitions practice. He was succeeded by Ding, while Leven was head of corporate finance for Asia-Pacific and Weiner-Trapness ran the financial institutions group. Leven and Weiner-Trapness previously worked with Goldman Sachs (GS.N).
Their new firm is likely to be operational in the next couple of months and add more staff in that time, the sources said. Reuters could not ascertain the name of the new firm.
The last major wave of new independent boutiques in Asia came after the 2008 financial crisis.
Examples include former Merrill Lynch Asia investment banking head Sheldon Trainor’s PacBridge Capital Partners, and former Citigroup Asian head Robert Morse’s Primus Financial Holdings.
Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Kenneth Maxwell