Western bankers head East amid sub-prime crisis: report

April 21st, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 21 (IANS) More and more senior executives from London and New York are relocating to Mumbai and other Asian financial centres, driven by the recent economic downturn caused by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, a newspaper reported Monday. The Times said that with deals drying up in London and New York, executives were being served ultimatums of ‘Mumbai, Dubai, Shanghai - or goodbye.’

Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital and Citigroup were among firms that have relocated senior executives to Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai and, in some cases, created jobs for them.

The paper quoted Sudarshan Narayan, managing director of headhunters Clark & Kent, as estimating an annual increase of 20 to 25 percent in the number of Western bankers heading East for the past two years.

An internal memo announcing the transfer of one international banker from London to Hong Kong said: “Within the Pacific Rim, China and India, in particular, represent some of our greatest opportunities. Accordingly, we must align with them our most senior and successful bankers.”

The paper said Asia has emerged from the US sub-prime crisis relatively unscathed with Thomson Financial estimating mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity involving Asian companies to have fallen by only 1 percent so far this year, compared with 2007.

Globally, there has been a 27 percent drop. Not including Japan, Asia accounts for nearly a fifth of global M&A, a share set to rise as the financial pendulum swings East.

However, the paper quoted unnamed sources as saying the Swiss bank UBS, which has reported losses of $37 billion as a result of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, is “dithering” on long-term plans to launch a wealth management business in India after an upheaval in its top management.

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