Monday, 29 October 2007

Alfa Bank lures three executives from rival UBS

The Wall Street Journal Europe: Financial News

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow

29 October 2007

Three investment bankers from UBS AG in Moscow have quit to join the Swiss bank's former Russia head Ed Kaufman at closely held Alfa Bank.

Mr. Kaufman, one of the Russian capital's leading rainmakers, caused a stir earlier this year when he left UBS to become chief executive of Alfa's investment-banking business. Joining him now at Alfa are Andrei Bykov, Sergei Yorshikov and Sergei Zyryaev.

Mr. Kaufman said Mr. Bykov has been hired to run initial public offerings and eurobonds, while Messrs. Yorshikov and Zyryaev will handle clients.

Mr. Kaufman has also hired Gene Moldavsky as Alfa's head of corporate finance after a year's sabbatical away from UBS, where Mr. Moldavsky led a number of deals, including two public equity placements of mobile operator OAO Mobile TeleSystems valued at $3.4 billion.

Mr. Moldavsky said Alfa was currently working on three or four IPOs pencilled in for early next year. “There is a role for us as the client’s Russian house and second banker on IPOs. We are already top adviser in M&A here for the first six months of this year.

Kaufman, who is reputed to have been lured to Alfa by a guarantee of $15m over two years, said: “We have a full team in place now since September with Simon Vine too moving up to head of fixed income and Dominic Gualtieri retaining equities. The new structure will take time to bed down – 2008 should be a major year for us.”

UBS responded last week by hiring Alfa’s lead oil and gas analyst Dmitry Lukashov.

UBS has experienced defections as local and foreign investment banks have been building their presence in Russia, which is experiencing record levels of capital-markets activity. Head of research Al Breach left last month to explore new opportunities after almost five years in the job. Hartmuth Jung, vice-chairman of global investment banking, stepped down at the end of June, while banker Pavel Fedorov rejoined Morgan Stanley in May after a year at UBS.

A UBS spokeswoman in Moscow declined to comment.

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