Top talent rushes to join domestic Investment Banks

January, 2020

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MUMBAI: Vikas Khattar joined domestic investment banking firm Ambit Capital after 20 years with foreign banks like Citi, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, HSBC and Jefferies. In July, Anjani Kumar moved in as managing director of boutique domestic investment bank O3 Capital after two decades of a global career in multiple geographies with foreign banks like CIMB Securities, ABN Amro and RBS. Khattar and Kumar are among several investment bankers making a move to domestic platforms as the appeal of plum jobs at foreign banks fade while domestic outfits become attractive with the promise of expanding opportunities.

More than three dozen such executives have moved to domestic outfits in the last one year, said, industry experts.

“There is an increasing inclination among clients to work with domestic banks and India specialists. Domestic investment banks have continued to invest knowledge and time in understanding companies and building relationships with a wider base of Indian companies,” said Ramesh Srinivasan, chief executive officer of Kotak Mahindra Capital Co.

“Indian investment banks have also stitched up strategic alliances with foreign groups to offer full service to clients,” he said. The overall investment banking activity has improved in India over the last three years in terms of fees and revenue. Good capital market activity, M&A and an upswing in private equity syndication.

“The resurgence of ‘domestic acquirer and the new listings of emerging gems from India, in particular, make domestic investment banks more relevant. This makes careers at domestic investment banks an interesting proposition,” said Srinivasan.

Satyen Shah, head of investment banking at Edelweiss, which has made several senior-level talent acquisitions from global banks, said: “Domestic firms have attained critical size and scale. The quantum of deal flow in domestic banks is a lot more than in foreign banks. If someone wants to be in the thick of action foreign banks could be restrictive. Local outfits that have grown and are expanding teams offer much more growth opportunity.”

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