UBS Warburg loses leading light, gains new star

UBS Warburg''s star corporate financier Suneel Kamlani is to leave the firm''s Asian offices for the US.

UBS Warburgáhasáundergone a major upheaval in its corporate finance divisionáfollowing the loss of co-head Suneel Kamlani and his replacement by Jardine Fleming group executive director Mark Dowie. Kamlani's decision to move back to the USáwill be seen by some as major blow to the Swissábank as its tries to edge rival US investment banks out of the top rankings for mergers and acquisitions work in Asia.

As joint head of corporate finance, Kamlani has been responsible for building up the M&A business and managed to pull offáa spectacular coupáearlier this year byásecuring the advisory mandate to Pacific Century Cyberworksá(PCCW) in its bid for Hong Kong Telecom.á

Among the many legendsáthat have already sprung up around the landmark transaction isáone concerningáKamlani himself. Now known as 'Mr PCCW', some market spectatorsábelieve thatáit was heáwho first suggested to chairmanáRichard Li that PCCW should bid for theátelecoms operator. Others, by contrast, stillácontend that the missive to bid came directly from Beijing via the Bank of China and that UBS was drafted because ofáits close working relationship with the government-owned bank.

Kamlani is now returning to his roots in the US and will run the group's debt capital markets operations, reporting to global head of debt capital markets, Manfred Schepers. Having worked in investment banking for 16 years, Kamlani has been based in Asia since 1997, first as head of debt capital markets and latterly as joint-head of corporate finance. Prior to this, he was head of US debt origination.

In his place, UBS has managed to secure the talents of Mark Dowie, Jardine Fleming's head of regional corporate finance and a group executive director. Dowie has been at Flemings for four years and has recently been working closely with UBS on the Hong Kong Telecom deal. Prior to Flemings, Dowie was at ING Barings and moved across with close friend Russell Julius, currently Fleming's global head of corporate finance. á

Dowie will now be working with Peter Burnett, who recently returned toáUBS Warburg from Dresdner Kleinwort Benson following the collapse ofátheálatter's merger talks with Deutsche Bank in April. Burnett had only left UBS Warburg in January, where he was head of Asian equity capital markets.