High-flying UBS investment banker moves to Lehman

by Michelle Tay
9 May 08

A KEY deal-maker in the investment banking arm of embattled Swiss bank UBS has left for an American competitor. Mr Patrick Lee, 37, the head of investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia at UBS, resigned on Monday from the Swiss bank.

Industry sources told The Straits Times that Mr Lee will join global investment firm Lehman Brothers to head its South-east Asia investment banking team.

He is currently on gardening leave and could not be contacted for comment.

Mr Rob Rankin, the head of investment banking for Asia at UBS, told The Straits Times yesterday that the bank has appointed Ms Parvati Banati and Mr Sutha Kandiah as co-heads of investment banking for Singapore and Malaysia with immediate effect.

Ms Banati has been with UBS since 1995 and will continue in her other roles as head of execution for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia and joint chair of the Asia equity commitments committee.

Mr Kandiah will also serve as joint head of Asia equity capital markets.

Mr Lee’s move underlines the current difficulties faced by the industry in keeping top talent in Asia, where demand for top-tier executives is fast outstripping supply.

Mr Lee, a Malaysian, joined UBS Investment Bank in Singapore from Morgan Stanley in 2003, and was responsible for the Swiss bank’s corporate finance activities in Singapore and Malaysia.

He has more than 13 years of experience in the industry and has worked with capital markets and mergers and acquisitions.

He worked in London and Hong Kong before moving back to South-east Asia in 1997.

His local experience includes advising Singapore Power on the formation of SP PowerAssets and its related US$2.2 billion (S$3 billion) debt financing, SingTel on its US$10 billion acquisition of Australian telecommunications company Optus, and Overseas Union Bank on its $10 billion merger with United Overseas Bank.

On Tuesday, UBS reported a net loss of 11.5 billion Swiss francs (S$14.9 billion) for its first quarter, and said it would cut its global workforce by 7 per cent, which represents 5,500 jobs. Up to 2,600 of those would be in its investment banking arm, which was named as the culprit behind the cumulative write-downs of US$37.4 billion since July last year.

UBS’ New York and London operations are likely to bear the brunt of the cuts, as its Asian businesses have outperformed those more mature markets in recent months.

Singapore is UBS’ South-east Asian hub for investment banking, and employment and revenue here grew more than 20 per cent last year, said Mr Rankin.

He added: ‘The markets are challenging, but our outlook for South-east Asia is still very robust.’

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