Things are looking up in M&A. Despite some dubious comments from senior M&A bankers to the effect that the M&A recovery isn't really upon us yet, Dealogic reported on Monday that year-to-date M&A volumes have reached $626bn, their highest level since 2007.
The rush of deals seems to be inspiring some hiring. The Financial Times reports that Citi has suddenly recruited a new head of industrials M&A for EMEA (JPMorgan banker Koen van Velsen). In the words of the exotically named Manolo Falco and Wes Walraven (Citi's head of EMEA M&A and global head of industrials respectively) the EMEA industrials market is now seen as one of Citi's, "largest wallet opportunities."
Strangely, Citi seems to have left this wallet opportunity discarded in a corner for quite a while. Van Velsen is moving into a role at Citi that's been 'void since 2009' according to the FT. In this context, van Velsen's arrival looks like an epochal move. Even better, he will reportedly be hiring other industrials bankers for Citi soon.
In fact, Cit's enthusiasm for industrials is likely simply related to last April's arrival of Ben Story from Deutsche Bank as head of UK investment banking and broking. Before Citi, Story spent seven years as head of the industrials group for EMEA at Deutsche Bank. Having achieved a promotion out of his specialist sector, we suspect that Story is merely ensuring his previous beat is properly covered at his new employer.