Investment banks are increasing their technological recruiting in Southeast Asia and India as the region’s fast-growing consumer internet markets catch up with their counterparts, causing transactions to reach new heights.
Global lenders Barclays Plc and Citigroup Inc. have established new senior positions, while regional and boutique firms are staffing up to capitalise on a boom in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.
“Every single investment bank is looking to hire technology, media and telecommunications bankers,” said Anand Menon, managing director of Executive Principles, a head-hunting firm in India. “TMT is an animal producing multiple babies. We need new-age bankers who think like entrepreneurs to cover them with the same speed as these startups.”
Previously, technology-focused investment bankers in Asia concentrated on larger, more established markets such as Japan, South Korea, and, more recently, China. Motivated by the coronavirus pandemic’s boost to e-commerce and remote working, lenders are vying to collaborate with startups as they expand into areas with a combined population of roughly 2 billion people. According to Bloomberg News, Citigroup established a new managing director job in Southeast Asia to manage TMT. Other banks that have recently made or are making sector hiring in the region include BDA Partners Inc., BNP Paribas SA, and Malayan Banking Bhd., according to individuals familiar with the subject who asked not to be identified because they were discussing internal concerns.
Pramod Kumar, Barclays’ India investment bank president, stated that the business is expanding its staff in Mumbai by adding a senior position. According to a source familiar with the situation, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is looking for a TMT banker at the executive director level.
BNP Paribas and JPMorgan representatives declined to comment. According to a BDA Partners spokesperson, the business is engaged in India and Southeast Asia technology investment banking and will continue to employ in the region. Rajiv Vijendran, regional head of investment banking at Maybank Kim Eng Group in Singapore, stated that the bank is always searching for new ways to expand its business, including TMT.
Edelweiss Wealth Management’s chief executive officer, Ashish Kehair, stated that the company’s investment banking business is looking to hire three to five bankers with technological experience. “Digital and technology now have a force multiplier impact,” he explained.
The bankers will have a lot on their plates. According to Bloomberg statistics, technology, telecoms, and media transactions disclosed in South and Southeast Asia this year have reached a new high of $93 billion, nearly double the same period last year.
Regional leaders are already being consolidated. In May, ride-hailing and payments titan Gojek planned to merge with e-commerce pioneer PT Tokopedia to form Indonesia’s largest online firm. The merged company’s next stage is the capital markets, where it is exploring raising up to $2 billion from domestic and international listings at a valuation of around $30 billion, according to Bloomberg News in July.
According to JwalantNanavati, head of TMT for Asia ex-Japan at Nomura Holdings Inc., IT companies in Southeast Asia and India are maturing in terms of scale and size, with many becoming unicorns and some preparing to go public through direct listings or mergers with blank-check corporations. According to Bloomberg News, the Japanese bank recruited an executive director specialising in TMT in Singapore in April.