Jefferies Said to Lure Seven UBS Bankers in Asia After Hiring Ren Wang

Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF) has hired at least seven UBS (UBSN) AG bankers in Hong Kong in the past two months after luring Ren Wang from the Swiss lender to become its Asia president, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Ronald Tam and Dai Qiang, both of whom were executive directors at UBS, were hired as managing directors for the New York-based firm’s investment banking team, the people said, asking not to be identified because the bankers haven’t started at Jefferies. They will begin work in the first half of December, one of the people said.

The U.S. investment bank is expanding operations in Asia while rivals including Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. cut jobs globally as revenue shrinks. Jefferies has declined 61 percent in New York this year on speculation that a liquidity crunch and losses on European debt will weigh on the firm.

Tam may also head Asia corporate finance, two of the people said. The five other executives were hired for positions ranging from senior vice president to analyst, two people said. Wang, who is also head of capital markets for Asia, will start in Hong Kong next week, a person said.

Richard Khaleel, a spokesman for Jefferies in the U.S., declined to comment. Mark Panday, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for UBS, said the company doesn’t comment on departures.

Jefferies rose 3.6 percent to $10.89 at 11:07 a.m. in New York trading, the biggest advance on the 79-company Standard and Poor’s Midcap Financials Index.

Asian Expansion

With the new hires, Jefferies will have 12 investment bankers in Hong Kong, and will focus on winning Chinese capital markets mandates and building leveraged finance business, one of the people said. Hong Kong and India will have about 30 bankers in total, the person said.

Jefferies is also building its equity sales, trading and research businesses and said in May that it hired Sean Huang from the Swiss bank to head securities finance trading in the region. The U.S. firm said in April it hired six managing directors in the region, including Stephen Nichols as head of Asia trading from Citigroup, and Adam Putterill, head of Hong Kong and China sales trading, from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The U.S. investment bank in June said it won approval from Indian regulators to start equity research, sales and trading operations in the South Asian nation. Jefferies appointed Kunal Bajaj as head of India equity sales and Govind Chellappa as its research head, according to an e-mailed statement.

Europe, MF Global

Meanwhile, job losses in the global financial services industry this year are close to surpassing 200,000 as Citigroup, France’s BNP Paribas SA and Bank of America Corp. eliminate jobs to reduce costs. The staff reductions come as the European sovereign debt crisis roils markets, crimps revenue from trading stocks and bonds, and deters companies from takeovers or stock offerings.

Shares of Jefferies have dropped 18 percent since MF Global’s Oct. 31 bankruptcy, triggered by that firm’s $6.3 billion bet on the bonds of Europe’s most-troubled nations. Richard Handler, chief executive officer of Jefferies, has defended his firm as it has come under pressure from short sellers and a credit downgrade by Egan-Jones Ratings Co.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cathy Chan in Hong Kong at kchan14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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