Thursday, 15 February 2007

Russia chief quits for $20m

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow and David Rothnie

Financial News

The head of Russia at UBS has quit to join local rival Alfa Group, amid a scramble for investment banking talent and fierce competition to win business in the region.

Ed Kaufman has resigned as head of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan at UBS and will join Alfa Bank as chief executive of its investment banking business.

Kaufman who will leave UBS at the end of February, is understood to have been lured by Alfa with a guaranteed $20m (€15.4m) over two years.

Kaufman described the package as “very generous” and said he was joining Alfa Bank "for the challenge of doing something different".

Kaufman, an American, joined UBS in 2002 when the Swiss investment bank bought a stake in his former employer, Russian brokerage Brunswick.

Financial News reported last month that Alfa Bank was trying to recruit Kaufman, who said he had held talks with other parties but that none had been serious or detailed.

The departure of Kaufman, regarded as one of the top foreign bankers in Russia, comes at a time when competition for talent is intense with international banks expanding or opening offices in Moscow to capture a share of the $30bn worth of Russian listings expected this year.

A spokeswoman for UBS in Moscow said: "Replacing [Kaufman] is not an issue as such at the moment, as the local investment banking team is quite strong and there is no immediate need for one senior single head. it will be sorted out gradually."

Market observers say local banks such as Renaissance Capital and Alfa are pushing up recruitment costs for foreign entrants. Renaissance hired Bob Foresman, head of Dresdner Kleinwort’s Russian business, as deputy chairman and recruited seven other bankers from its rivals, using its shares to persuade them to leave larger investment banks.

February 13, 2007

1 comment:

ilanit said...

In September I would have speculated that MS would not be treating a first-tier Los Angeles private equity firm like Blackstone this way. But as the Fall has progressed and the potential liability increased it is clear that banks are willing to risk even their largest clients to wriggle away from some of these deals.