Exit of JPMorgan's Hong Kong ECM head bodes badly for Asia
Murli Maiya, the head of JPMorgan's equity capital markets (ECM) business in Asia is leaving the bank after 25 years to pursue an opportunity outside banking.
JPMorgan will not be replacing him.
Instead, Maiya's APAC job will be added to the responsibilities of Aloke Gupte and Alex Watkins, the heads of ECM for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for JPMorgan.
The implication, although JPMorgan isn't saying it, is that for the moment at least, the bank isn't convinced that there's much point in having a standalone head of ECM in Asia.
Senior bankers say it bodes badly for jobs elsewhere.
"This is a way of removing a layer or two," says one ECM veteran, speaking off the record. "JPM doesn’t expect a recovery in Asia-Pacific ECM, especially in China. The various markets, such as China, India and Australia, are so different and bankers operate relatively autonomously. So when activity slows, you can remove the pan-Asian management layer."
JPMorgan's decision to effectively manage APAC ECM out of Europe is a reversion to the past, he adds. "It used to be the norm 25 years ago for Asia to report into Europe under an “international” umbrella."
JPMorgan has been careful to communicate that it is still bullish on Asia, just not necessarily in the short term. Global ECM head Achintya Mangla told Bloomberg that he has "a deep conviction in Asian ECM for the next 3-5 years," suggesting it could be a while before activity returns.
Given that Asian banking divisions are disproportionately reliant on ECM, slow revenues in the sector will mean cost-cutting elsewhere. Goldman Sachs is already cutting another 30 Asian investment banking jobs, of which around 10 are said to be ECM bankers in Bejing and Hong Kong. Citi is also cutting another 20 dealmaking jobs in Asia this week.
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