Goldman Sachs' Singapore-based, top South-east Asia investment banker to leave: Sources

The head of Goldman Sachs' investment banking division in South-east Asia, Mr Michael Smith, is set to leave the bank.
The head of Goldman Sachs' investment banking division in South-east Asia, Mr Michael Smith, is set to leave the bank.PHOTO: GOLDMAN SACHS

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - The head of Goldman Sachs' investment banking division in South-east Asia, Mr Michael Smith, is set to leave the bank, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday (Sept 27).

Based in Singapore, Mr Smith is a partner at Goldman and also heads the bank's Asian real estate investment banking team.

Mr Smith, who has been with the Wall Street bank since 2006, will leave later this year, one of the sources said. Mr Smith was previously a banker at UBS for about a decade.

His departure is not connected to Goldman's downsizing of the Asian team, the second source said. The sources said he was quitting the investment banking industry.

Reuters reported last week that Goldman was planning to cut almost 30 per cent of its 300 investment banking jobs in Asia outside Japan, in response to a fall in activity in the region.

Goldman and Mr Smith declined to comment. The sources declined to be identified as the information is not public.

In 2015, Goldman reduced the number of its investment bankers in Singapore - a hub for South-east Asia - to about 35 from 50 and this has declined further this year, sources said.

Investment banks are going through a rough patch in a tough dealmaking environment and amid a slowdown in major economies such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Reuters reported on Monday that Bank of America was set to cut about two dozen investment banking jobs in Asia.

The volume of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in South-east Asia dropped by a third last year from 2014, and is down by about a fifth this year as of Sept 23 compared with the whole of last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

In the equity capital market (ECM) segment, South-east Asia volume fell 37 per cent last year and has declined by 42 per cent in the year to Sept 23 versus last year, the data showed.

Goldman's market share in the M&A volume league table in South-east Asia dropped to 3.6 per cent in 2015 from 12.5 per cent in 2014, while its share of ECM volume in the region dropped to 2.8 per cent from 3.4 per cent a year earlier, the data showed.