After running the Macquarie Capital business in Asia for six years, Andrew Low will return to Sydney in January to take on a new role as chief operating officer for Macquarie Capital Advisers.  

Low has worked for almost 20 years in financial services in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America and joined Macquarie a decade ago with the Bankers Trust Australia acquisition. He led the acquisition of ING's Asian equities business in 2004 and since then has helped the firm grow revenue and profitability from Asia to the extent that the region is now the second largest contributor of income for Macquarie after Australia.  

"Clearly this is a promotion for Andrew to a global role after having successfully helped build the Asia business from a couple of hundred people to a couple of thousand," said a source. "Having the head of Asia stepping up will ensure Asia remains a key focus."

For now, Low remains the head of Macquarie Capital Asia. Macquarie Capital incorporates the firm's equity capital market and corporate advisory business (known as Macquarie Capital Advisers) as well as its specialist funds business (Macquarie Capital Funds). Earlier this month, Macquarie Group hired Kalpana Desai as deputy head of Asia for Macquarie Capital Advisers.

During Low's watch, the equities capital market business has grown substantially. In 2008, Macquarie ranked as the top underwriter of IPOs in Hong Kong after lead-managing three of the five largest offerings by Chinese companies -- and its China domestic platform has made significant progress. Last month, Macquarie signed an agreement to set up a securities joint venture with Hengtai Securities in China, which, if approved by regulators, will enable it to underwrite domestic Chinese debt and equity issues. This on-the-ground presence in mainland China will complement the firm's existing business as an underwriter of Chinese initial public offerings offshore.

Observers add that under Low's leadership, Macquarie has also been successful in leveraging its sector and geographic niches to support its growth. Specifically it has been active in advising Chinese, Indian, Korean and Japanese companies on M&A in the natural resources and food & beverage/agricultural sectors, and it advised and co-invested alongside China Investment Corporation in the Goodman property group in Australia.