By Lawrence White and Michael Flaherty
HONG KONG, March 15 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc has appointed Steven Barg to a newly created role in New York, moving the veteran Asia equity capital markets banker to the firm’s headquarters less than six months after he took on a senior role in Singapore.
Barg’s title will be head of M&A capital markets, a role that will involve advising the firm’s clients on the equity market implications of their merger and acquisitions activities, according to a memo obtained by Reuters.
Barg, an American citizen, will move in April to New York, the city where he spent the early part of his banking career.
Barg joined Goldman from UBS in May 2010 as co-head of equity capital markets in Asia in Hong Kong.
In a rare move, Goldman hired him as a partner. Barg was seen as a major win for the U.S. investment bank as he was part of a senior team of bankers that led UBS’s dominance of the equity capital markets business in Asia.
In 2011, Goldman was the number one equity capital markets underwriter in Asia, excluding Japan, according to Thomson Reuters, beating UBS to the top spot for the first time in seven years. The US investment bank repeated the feat in 2012.
Prior to the 2008 global financial crisis, top banks in Asia were earning hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from the hot IPO markets. But initial share offerings from the region dried up last year, leaving Goldman with several senior equity capital market (ECM) bankers in Hong Kong as demand for their services diminished.
In July 2012, Goldman announced that Barg was re-locating to Singapore to become co-head of Southeast Asia investment banking, at a time when the region’s M&A and IPO markets were heating up while Greater China’s had cooled down.
Southeast Asia remains active this year, with Thailand’s BTS Group Holdings filing for a record $2.1 billion IPO on Friday, the latest of a string of bumper offerings.
Barg’s departure from Singapore leaves Hsin Yue Yong as Goldman’s sole head of Southeast Asia investment banking, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Barg grew up in the United States and graduated from Wesleyan University and Stanford University. Moving to New York will bring him closer to his children, who are studying in Connecticut and New Hampshire.
Barg’s move is the second major change in Goldman’s Asia investment banking leadership this month. Kate Richdale, a former top banker for Morgan Stanley in Southeast Asia, joined Goldman as head of Asia investment banking services.