CSFB vice-chairman to retire

Affable Alan Smith calls it a day.

CSFB is to lose its vice chairman, Alan Smith in December, when the affable investment banker will retire.

Alan SmithSmith has enjoyed a stellar 30 years in Asian investment banking. He spent 23 of those years at Jardine Fleming and under his 13 years of leadership he turned the firm into Asia's premier regional investment bank and easily its most profitable.

Smith, who went to school with Mick Jagger, started out in Hong Kong as a university lecturer in the early 1970s. Not getting much satisfaction doing that, he organized conferences on the side telling brokers what they could and couldn't do under Hong Kong securities law. At the time, many brokers were surprised to find there was a securities law.

He then joined Jardine Fleming in 1973 at a time when the firm was helping the Jardine Matheson Group to launch takeovers and expand.

At Jardine Fleming he took the firm on an aggressive expansion drive of its own, and turned the firm from a largely Hong Kong-based boutique into a pan-Asian investment bank and fund manager.

Later at CSFB, he helped the firm to build its Hong Kong and equities franchise. It was thanks to Smith that CSFB managed to obtain the sponsorship of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, a bold strategic move which has helped propel the firm up the brokerage rankings thanks to the concurrent investor conference that takes place.

He will now split his time between a newly acquired house in Hong Kong and his other home in the South of France. He will remain as an adviser to CSFB.

When asked to comment on a long and successful career, Smith said he knew there was no more that he could achieve when he made it onto the fifth anniversary cover of FinanceAsia in September, along with 46 other luminaries. The industry will miss his wit.