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CommentP&M Notebook

One out, six in at SMBC

SMBC Nikko Securities' logo is pictured at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan December 5, 2017. Picture taken December 5, 2017.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

New York, Paris, London — the Japanese bank has been on a hiring spree across the board

SMBC Nikko's capital markets hiring spree seems to have ramped up lately. Although one senior syndicate banker recently left the emerging markets team for pastures new, a deluge of bankers going the other way more than made up for it.

Starting with the departure, GlobalCapital reported last week that head of EM bond syndicate Aubélia Botta had accepted a job offer from Japanese rival MUFG, which will also involve a relocation from London to Paris, where she will be head of EU debt capital markets bond syndicate.

A willingness to move to a European financial centre such as Paris is a strong selling point for a capital markets banker in this post-Brexit labour market. Many London-based bond slingers are determined to stay where they are, but this conflicts with the increasing pressure EU regulators have applied to banks to shift people to the continent.

Ask the PR machines of any of the large banks, and they will tell you their EU personnel plans are completely watertight and have been in place for months, if not years. MUFG chose Paris as its EU hub and relocated its DCM bankers in March 2019.

But one DCM banker sharing a pint with GlobalCapital this week (enjoying the freedom to perch at the bar, unmasked) said he thought the Brexit moves were only just beginning.

The banker that Botta appears to be partly replacing, Jason Mann, is heading in the opposite direction. Having joined MUFG's Paris-based office as head of EU FIG DCM and head of EU syndicate in March 2019, he is moving to London to join SMBC in October as an executive director on the syndicate desk.

SMBC spree

Which brings us nicely back to SMBC, where, also on the arrivals side of the ledger, we have Scott Ashby, a Morgan Stanley banker of 24 years, many of them spent focusing on FIG DCM, who joins the Japanese bank as head of capital markets and investment banking in New York.

Back in London, SMBC has added Mark Pegrum as co-head of EMEA loans origination and Lydia Brookes as an executive director in EMEA loan capital markets origination, while its continental raid on Commerzbank continues with director Marie Duflos having made the switch in Paris in September along with associate Mathieu Goyer. Other Commerzbank staffers who have moved to SMBC this year are Markus Steilen and Waldemar Redinger, both in Frankfurt.

Events comeback

It was not just at the pub that bankers were rubbing shoulders with each other — and journalists — in the past week. There were also several in-person events taking place. Not only did GlobalCapital host its own first physical event since the pandemic began, in the form of its Global Derivatives Awards, but another market favourite also returned — Global ABS, which attracted at least 1,200 physical attendees on Monday and Tuesday.

One of them was HSBC's former head of structured finance, Nigel Batley, who retired in August but recently rejoined the fray as a representative of New York-based structured credit fund manager and balance sheet solutions provider Lord Capital.

He participated in a panel discussion on trade receivables for SME financing, and was the only panelist brave enough to tackle an audience member's question about the collapse of Greensill Capital and its implications for the asset class.

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