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UPDATE 2-Senior UBS banker Joseph Chee resigns to start own fund

* UBS had been top ranked ECM firm for several years

* Chee worked on landmark Chinese IPOs in Hong Kong (Adds formal announcement to come on Friday)

HONG KONG, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Joseph Chee, one of UBS Group AG’s top dealmakers in Asia, has resigned to pursue his own interests, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, making it the second senior investment banker to leave the Swiss lender in recent weeks.

Chee, whose official title was head of corporate client solutions for Asia, was the go-to banker for Chinese state and private companies seeking to raise funds in Hong Kong and the United States.

He led several landmark deals, including China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd’s $2.5 billion initial public offering (IPO) in 2013, and also helped UBS land a financial advisory role in the $7.6 billion IPO of Postal Savings Bank of China Co Ltd last year.

Chee is planning to set up his own fund, one of the people said.

UBS declined to comment. One of the people said an internal announcement of Chee’s departure will be made on Friday.

The Swiss firm was a powerhouse in Asia equity capital markets (ECM) and along with Goldman Sachs Group Inc dominated the league tables from 2002. But in the past two years its performance has suffered as Chinese investment banks made inroads into the money-making business.

While overall ECM activity in Asia Pacific fell 22.5 percent in 2016, UBS suffered a 66 percent decline in the value of share offerings it worked on last year, with estimated fees declining 45.4 percent, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Last month, Damien Brosnan, co-head of Asia ECM at UBS, left the bank only seven months after taking up that position.

UBS is currently under investigation in Hong Kong by the local securities regulator. In October, the regulator said it was probing the Swiss bank’s role as a sponsor of certain unnamed stock market listings in the city, with the intention to start unspecified action against the bank and some of its employees.

There is no link between that probe and the ECM departures, the people said. (Reporting by Fiona Lau and Elzio Barreto; Additional reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Julie Zhu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Christopher Cushing)