Evercore to open Singapore office, hires Keith Magnus from UBS

SINGAPORE, July 22 Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:00pm EDT

SINGAPORE, July 22 (Reuters) - Evercore Partners Inc has hired UBS AG banker Keith Magnus as senior managing director to set up its Singapore office as the U.S. investment bank expands in Southeast Asia to tap into booming deal activity.

Magnus, now chairman and head of UBS investment banking Singapore and Malaysia, will focus on providing strategic, merger and acquisitions and capital markets advice to companies in Singapore and throughout Southeast Asia, the U.S. bank said in a statement. He will join Evercore in October.

Evercore's Singapore office will be its second in Asia, three years after it opened its Hong Kong office, where it now has 15 advisers. It plans to have six to 10 advisers in Singapore in the first 12 months, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The region has seen a surge in deals activity with Southeast Asian billionaires buying assets outside their home markets and foreign companies, encouraged by its growth prospects, acquiring local businesses.

Last year, Evercore advised insurance firm AIA Group Ltd on its $1.73 billion acquisition of ING NV's Malaysian insurance operations.

Singapore is also home to two of the world's biggest sovereign investors, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp and Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd.

"In Singapore you have a large number of entities such as sovereign wealth funds that invest directly, own businesses and have been users of advice," Evercore President and Chief Executive Ralph Schlosstein told Reuters from New York.

"You also have a large number of companies that are very significant, looking to acquire businesses in the rest of Southeast Asia and also around the globe - in the US, in Europe and in South America," he said.

"The opportunity to serve those clients and the need on the part of those clients for advice in the global markets is what we believe in a very meaningful way exists in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia."

Thai companies, for example, launched a record $24.7 billion worth of outbound M&A last year, more than the combined total of the previous 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

In the first half of this year, equity capital market deals in Southeast Asia climbed 54 percent to $22.5 billion, a quarter of all Asia-Pacific ex-Japan volumes.

Magnus, who has also worked for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, has advised on public deals in excess of S$40 billion ($32 billion) in M&A and capital raisings for financial institutions and corporates spanning a wide spectrum of industries, Evercore said.

Evercore was founded as a merger and asset management firm in 1996 by former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman.