In a case of goodbye Repulse Bay, hello Tunbridge Wells, UBS's nelsonian co-head of investment banking, Mark 'the Admiral' Dowie has announced he will raise anchor and head for London in February.
The affable Dowie (pictured left) will become one of six investment banking vice-chairmen at UBS, and will take on European client coverage responsibility as well as interfacing between the investment bank in Europe and UBS's private bank. He will also retain a role connecting European and Asian corporate finance.
Robert Rankin, who currently runs the telecoms group, will be promoted co-head of investment banking with Peter Burnett.
Dowie's reasons for leaving Asia are largely personal and driven by family issues rather than any waning passion for the Asian capital markets.
He has been in Asia for nine years, having joined Barings from the Royal Navy and later became head of M&A at Jardine Fleming. After the merger of JF with JPMorgan, Dowie hoisted his main sail to UBS, where alongside Burnett he helped build one of the region's most successful investment banking franchises through a combination of intelligent strategic thinking and Battle of the Nile pluck.
Burnett and Dowie can claim credit for leading teams that won some of the most critical transactions of the past three years. Two years ago, FinanceAsia named UBS as investment bank of the year, and as part of a bet with the editorial team of FinanceAsia (preserved for posterity on a menu) he arrived at our gala awards dinner dressed in a perfect replica of the uniform Nelson wore at Trafalgar.
He moves back to the UK where he will live with his family in a recently acquired former hotel near Tunbridge Wells. Provisionally named, Dowie Towers, Hong Kong friends are speculating whether he will retain the waiting staff from Barcelona.
Friends will also be speculating on whether they are in Dowie's novel. A ripping yarn on expat life in Asia, Dowie has written much of the novel on flights around the region and threatens to finish it in the month he will take off between leaving Asia and starting his new job in London.
His departure to London joins that of John Holland, UBS head of sales, who also left the region for personal reasons.
Meanwhile, Burnett and Rankin will split the region geographically, with Burnett continuing to focus on North Asia while Rankin takes Southeast Asia and retains a strong focus on telecoms clients.