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Morning Coffee: Now banks in Asia aren’t bothering to replace their bosses

Macquarie Singapore banking head

...but we don't care

Sudden departures at the top of Asian investment banking aren’t unusual – but when a country boss isn’t even replaced after they leave, you know that the IBD job market is in trouble.

The departing employee in question is Yung Chee Leong, Macquarie’s head of Singapore investment banking. He’s decided to quit the Australian firm following its decision late last month to cut about 100 IBD jobs across Asia, reports Bloomberg.

But despite the seniority and scope of Leong’s role, his position won’t be replaced and his responsibilities will simply be taken on by Anupam Garg, who’s already head of Macquarie’s corporate finance coverage in Southeast Asia, according to anonymous sources quoted by Bloomberg.

Investment banks are struggling with tight margins in Southeast Asia and are generally firing rather than hiring in the region’s banking hub, Singapore. Last month Goldman Sachs and CIMB cut 15 IBD jobs each in the city state. Headhunters we spoke to at the time said that banks had taken on too many staff in the previous two years in expectation of revenues that didn’t eventuate.

Macquarie fell outside the top-20 firms for M&A revenue in Southeast Asia last year, according to Bloomberg figures. Its own IBD job cuts reflect CEO Nicholas Moore’s strategy of refocusing the firm on more stable businesses such as leasing, fund management and lending.

Meanwhile:

Temasek chief executive Ho Ching is to take a three-month sabbatical. (Wall Street Journal)

Regulators consider loosening rules governing Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect. (Wall Street Journal)

ANZ’s Mike Smith is “not too concerned” about China slowdown. (ABC)

Financial literacy in Singapore slumps. (CNBC)

Malaysia Building Society wants to become a fully Islamic bank within five years. (Business Times)

Singapore set to get even hotter. (Asia One)


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