Two weeks ago Deutsches head of global investment banking Asia, Frank Nash told FinanceAsia: I can commit to saying we will be a significant hirer in the upcoming months.
More like upcoming weeks. The former BT Alex Brown banker, who arrived in Asia in March 2000, is clearly not a man given to empty promises.
This week Nash managed to hire star M&A banker Anthony Steains from ING Barings. Deutsche finally confirmed last night that Steains will join as a managing director and will be charged with building and running the firms M&A effort.
It is a measure of Deutsches seriousness that it has chosen to hire a man of Steains calibre and to do so at this time of year (ie, pre-bonus) when a big cheque book is required.
Steains is well known for his key relationships around Asia, particularly with the First Pacific Group. Like Nash, he reckons he will be a big hirer in the upcoming months. Just how big will be seen when bonuses are paid at ING Barings and other firms in February.
Says Steains: I am excited at the opportunity to join what is a major global institution. Deutsche has demonstrated its commitment to this business. Obviously I had an excellent time at Barings and it was a difficult decision to leave.
Steains had been with Barings in Asia for five years a lifetime in the Asian M&A world and prior to that at Coopers & Lybrand, where he was a corporate finance specialist. He was first approached by Deutsche six months ago, and will start in January.
Steains is part of Nashs bigger game plan, and fits Nashs view that M&A is going to be a key component of his business. He reckons that in the first six months of 1999, US and European M&A revenues were running at two times equity primary markets revenues. In Asia where he notes it is harder to get data he estimates that equity primary markets revenue was four times M&A revenues in the same period. Next year he believes the two will move towards parity in Asia.
There is a shift going on in the relative importance of M&A in Asia, says Nash. He will be hoping that a top hire like Steains can make sure that Deutsche plays a leading role in that shift.