Lenders hire to pursue $ 93 billion tech deals in South Asia

SINGAPORE: Investment banks are increasing their tech hires in Southeast Asia and India, as the region’s rapidly growing consumer internet markets catch up with their peers, pushing deals to new heights.

Global lenders Barclays Plc and Citigroup Inc have created new leadership positions, while regional and boutique players are recruiting staff to capture increased activity in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.

“Every investment bank is looking to hire technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) bankers,” said Anand Menon, managing director of Executive Principles, a headhunting company in India.

“TMT is an animal that produces several babies. We need new-age bankers who think like entrepreneurs to cover them at the same speed as these startups. “

Technology-focused investment bankers in Asia previously focused on larger, more developed markets such as Japan and South Korea, and more recently China.

Galvanized by the impetus given by the coronavirus pandemic to e-commerce and remote working, financiers strive to work with startups as they open up markets with a combined population of around two billion.

In Southeast Asia, Citigroup has created a new CEO position to oversee TMT, Bloomberg News reported.

BDA Partners Inc, BNP Paribas SA and Malayan Banking Bhd are among other banks that have recently made or are recruiting in the sector in the region, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified to discuss internal problems.

Barclays Indian investment bank manager Pramod Kumar said the company was strengthening its team in Mumbai by adding a senior executive position. JPMorgan Chase & Co is recruiting a TMT banker at the executive director level, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Representatives of BNP Paribas and JPMorgan declined to comment.

A representative from BDA Partners said the company is active in technology investment banking services in India and Southeast Asia and will continue to hire in this space.

Rajiv Vijendran, regional head of investment banking at Maybank Kim Eng Group in Singapore, said the bank is constantly looking for new areas to expand its business, including TMT.

Ashish Kehair, CEO of Edelweiss Wealth Management in India, said his investment banking unit hires three to five bankers with technological expertise. “Digital and technology are now having a force multiplier effect,” he said.

Bankers will have their hands full. South and Southeast Asia announced tech, telecommunications and media deals set a record US $ 93 billion (RM388 billion) this year, nearly double the same period last year , according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The consolidation of regional leaders is already underway.

Rideshare and payments giant Gojek agreed to team up with e-commerce pioneer PT Tokopedia in May to create Indonesia’s largest internet company.

The next stop is the capital markets, where the combined company plans to mop up up to US $ 2 billion (RM 8.3 billion) on listings in the country and the US at a valuation of around $ 30 billion (RM 125 billion), Bloomberg News reported. in July.

Tech startups from Southeast Asia and India are maturing in terms of scale and size, many are becoming unicorns and some are ready to go public either through direct listings or mergers with blank check companies, said Jwalant Nanavati, head of TMT for Asia ex-Japan at Nomura Holdings Inc. – Bloomberg

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