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CommentP&M Notebook

Credit Suisse’s energy drain

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A group of energy and infrastructure bankers are the latest to leave

As Credit Suisse’s top management works on a new strategy, a group of energy and infrastructure investment bankers are the latest to decide they would rather not wait to see what it is.

Unlike the FIG bankers who left earlier in the year, however, the energy and infra crew have not been poached wholesale by a competitor. Instead, they have found jobs at a variety of firms.

Jonathon Kaufman, one of the two former co-heads of the Swiss firm’s global energy and infrastructure group, and Ted Michaels, the ex-global head of renewables, are sticking together as they head to Evercore. But Kaufman’s co-head, Tom Greenberg, is going to Morgan Stanley instead.

Craig Edgar, who was vice chairman of power, utilities and infrastructure, is joining the team at RBC Capital Markets, while Michael Proskin, a managing director, is going to another Canadian firm, BMO Capital Markets.

Credit Suisse had built the team back up over several years after the 2012 defections of three senior power and renewables investment bankers — Ray Wood, Gavin Wolfe and Jason Satsky — to Bank of America. Another managing director, Ahmad Masud, followed them across to BofA in 2017.

In the past few years, Credit Suisse had recaptured much of its former glory in energy and infrastructure M&A. Earlier this year, it advised BlackRock on the sale of six natural gas distribution companies in the US to insurance company Ullico’s infrastructure fund and was one of two advisers to power company NRG Energy on its acquisition of energy retailer Direct Energy from British utility group Centrica.

There is also a strong intersection between Credit Suisse’s energy and infrastructure investment banking business and its capital markets offering. The firm has played an active role in special purpose acquisition companies with an energy transition angle, leveraged loans for energy sector clients, and solar panel securitizations.

To plug the gap in investment banking, Credit Suisse has put Rob Santangelo and Randy Bayless in place as co-heads of global energy and infrastructure. Meanwhile, the firm has created a new global ESG financing group, led by Scott Roose. Santangelo has been named chair of ESG advisory.

They will no doubt be hoping that Credit Suisse’s broad offering across capital markets helps them to hang on to clients in the sector following the most recent wave of departures, and also that no one else follows the leavers out of the door.

Feeding the Starling

Elsewhere, former NatWest banker Damian Thompson has landed a new role at UK challenger Starling Bank, which is on the hunt for assets as it looks to put the deposits it has amassed to work. The bank has started originating its own loans but is also open to forward flow agreements and M&A, as evidenced by tis recent acquisition of buy-to-let mortgage specialist Fleet Mortgages.

And the moves among Europe’s mid-cap equity capital markets players keep on coming, with Kepler Cheuvreuz hiring from ING to replace a banker who headed off to Berenberg in August.

Finally, there was an internal move at Rabobank, with leveraged finance banker Hans van der Ploeg switching to a lending role, which he says will combine judicious use of the firm’s own balance sheet with distribution to the market.

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