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Daily Dispatches: Market outlook bright, but little hiring hope in Asian M&A

M&A volumes in Asia Pacific totaled $136.6 billion in the first quarter, a fall of 25% from a year earlier, according to Dealogic. Activity in the region during the first quarter was the slowest in nearly eight years in terms of the number of deals.

Little wonder then that headhunters in Hong Kong and Singapore are experiencing scant interest for M&A bankers, even during the current post-bonus hiring season. Yet bankers quoted in the Wall Street Journal are upbeat about the rest of the year. Colin Banfield, head of M&A for Citigroup in Asia, said: “But the underlying pipeline of deals being mandated and worked on remains strong and suggests that one poor quarter will not be reflective of the overall year-end position.”

It may be a while before any uptick in M&A deals translates into more jobs. At a recent eFinancialCareers round table for human resources professionals in Hong Kong, a representative from an Asia Pacific bank said it would take more than a sustained markets recovery in Asia for her firm to beef up in investment banking. “There’s just still too much uncertainly around globally, especially in Europe, for us to commit to expensive new hires,” she said.

Asia intact (Sydney Morning Herald)
ANZ chief executive Mike Smith insists there is no change in the bank’s Asian growth strategy, despite the sudden departure of the executive leading its push into the region.

Still open (Channel News Asia)
Singapore continues to welcome foreign talent and investment, says Singapore Prime Minister on trip to US.

Share slump (Asian Banking & Finance)
For the second consecutive month, Chinese banks’ shares underperformed the market after having previously enjoyed five consecutive months of appreciation.

China stakes (Taipei Times)
Mainland Chinese banks might buy shares and become board members of some state-run Taiwanese banks, says Taiwanese Minister of Finance.

Corrupt funds (Forbes)
Corruption at hedge funds even more rampant than you think

Sail away (Yahoo!)
DBS Bank plans to invest S$10m to let people sail at Singapore’s Marina Bay, near the bank’s headquarters, free of charge on a regular basis.

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