George Hongchoy is settling into his first day at NM Rothschild & Sons's Hong Kong office today. He has joined the firm as a director and will head the diversified industries group for Asia. This is one of four industry groups that operate in Rothschild and covers companies in the Asian property, hospitality, consumer products, retail and financial sectors.

Hongchoy was most recently a managing director at JPMorgan, a position he left in December 2002. While at JP (and before that at Jardine Fleming), he worked on deals such as the IPO of the Tracker Fund, the IPO of SunEvision, the sale of Hong Kong Telecom to PCCW and the sale of Dao Heng Bank to DBS.

His new role will be something of a departure as it will be more regional than the Hong Kong focused positions he had before. "I'm excited about this new position as it will allow me to do more than just Hong Kong deals," he says. The new role will encompass traditional financial advisory in M&A and equity. Equity capital markets work at Rothschild is passed through the joint venture the bank has with ABN Amro.

In the year or so that he has been out, Hongchoy has been spending time with his two young children and working on his golf handicap, as well as helping his wife with an education business she has set up. But he has also missed some of the more severe ravages of the end of the bear market. "I might have missed the bear market, but I do not want to miss this bull market that is going on," he says.

Hongchoy fills the position at Rothschild vacated by Mark Broadley, who recently left the firm to become the CFO of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, a company for whom Hongchoy is presumably looking to do some deals.

Rothschild has had a good few years recently being involved in some of the more interesting transactions to have come out. It was involved in the IPOs of Bank Mandiri, M1 and Maxis as well as the debt restructuring of Astra International. In Hong Kong it has good relations with the government and is advising it on the IPO of the Airport Authority of Hong Kong as well as the putative merger of the MTRC and KCRC.