Alongside Mickey De Lathauwer, who has run Asian ECM (ex-Japan) since 1999, the bank has promoted Mark Machin to a co-head role and also drafted in John Daly from New York. All three will report to Mike Ryan, the bank's Tokyo-based head who has overseen the entire region including Australia and Japan since January 2000 and in turn reports to global head J. Michael Evans.

Over the past two years, the Hong Kong-based team has expanded rapidly from 12 to 30 personnel and in the process climbed back up the league tables. During 2000, it regained the top slot again for the first time since 1997, lead managing 19 deals and raising a total of $6.436 billion, according to figures compiled by Thomson Financial Securities Data.

In an internal memo, the bank says that the three managing directors will provide a "complementary leadership team" for the bank's ECM business in Asia.

De Lathauwer will continue to play to his strengths in the tech sector. The Belgian-born banker became ECM head after relocating to Hong Kong from Singapore, where he had been head of Southeast Asian equity sales and trading.

Machin, who was made a managing director late last year, will focus on privatizations. Having joined Goldman in 1991, he has spent the past six years in Hong Kong and worked on many of the bank's key transactions including, during 2000, the flotations of Petrochina and the Mass Transit Railway Corp (MTR), as well as the secondary offering for China Mobile. In addition to his regional role, he also carries a second, largely unofficial title as co-head of the global privatization group.

Finally, Daly, who re-located to Hong Kong a few of weeks ago, will have a primary focus on the utilities sector. Having joined Goldman's corporate finance division in 1989, he has spent the past eight years in equity capital markets in New York, where he was latterly Energy and Power Sector Captain. During that time he led over 100 deals including benchmark IPOs for Monsanto and Southern Energy.

In the internal memo, Goldman says that under De Lathauwer's leadership, "2000 was an exceptional year for ECM in Asia, with revenues doubling and a significant expansion in the size and quality of the team."

Goldman's move mirrors that of other investment banks, which have been staffing up in anticipation of greater business from the region. Despite the disastrous performance of Asia's secondary markets during 2000, it was a record year on the primary side with a total of $45.776 billion raised, according to figures from Capital Data Equityware.

Most banks are anticipating another banner year, particularly in terms of the number of jumbo equity offerings emanating from the region. The increasing size and strategic importance of deals has also necessitated a shift towards greater specialization. Consequently, under De Lathauwer's direction, the ECM team has also been re-organized into focused sector and country teams.