After JPMorgan, Hannam Said to Focus on Afghan Gold Mine

Ian Hannam, one of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s top advisers on the proposed transaction between Xstrata Plc (XTA) (XTA) and Glencore International Plc (GLEN) (GLEN), formally left the firm last week to focus on his mining interests, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Hannam, 56, stepped down in April from his day-to-day role at the bank after he was fined by the U.K. Financial Services Authority. He is now focused on projects including his investment in Kabul-based Afghan Gold and Minerals, the people said, asking not to be identified because his plans are private.

Hannam’s options include setting up his own firm, which may provide asset management, advisory and investment services in the mining and natural resources industry, with a focus on high- risk markets, one of the people said. Hannam left JPMorgan on Sept. 28, according to the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority Register.

Created in June last year, Afghan Gold is controlled by Sadat Naderi, an Afghan entrepreneur and the president of Afghan Krystal Natural Resources, with the remaining stake held by Guernsey-based Centar, which Hannam founded. Afghan Gold, run by former U.K. Special Air Service commander Richard Williams, has a gold mining license in Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, and is expanding its global interests, one of the people said. Centar is also pursuing projects in places such as Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the person said.

Hannam and an official at JPMorgan in London declined to comment.

FSA Decision

Hannam, JPMorgan’s chairman of equity capital markets, stepped down in April to appeal a decision by the FSA to fine him 450,000 pounds ($721,000) for market abuse. He e-mailed a potential customer in 2008 with details of a bid for his client Heritage Oil Plc (HOIL), as well as news of an oil find, the FSA said at that time. Hannam said in a statement then he would appeal and planned to continue his financial career after the dispute is over.

Based in London, Hannam was among bankers advising Xstrata, the subject of a bid by Glencore. At JPMorgan, which also serves as a broker to Xstrata, Hannam helped the mining company first sell shares in 2002, and was involved in many of its subsequent takeovers, including the $18.1 billion purchase of the Canadian nickel producer Falconbridge Ltd. (FALCF) in 2006.

The former JPMorgan banker is “an exceptionally clear thinker when identifying opportunities. He’s attracted to the complicated and difficult parts of the world by nature,” said Williams, 45, in a telephone interview from Afghanistan. The two men have known each other for more than a decade. “As far as he’s concerned, it’s ‘achieve the mission or leave the building.’ ”

Hannam joins other senior dealmakers who have quit large investment banks this year. Morgan Stanley’ (MS)s most senior dealmaker in London, Simon Robey, plans to step down after 25 years to start his own advisory firm.

Robey, the firm’s co-chairman of global mergers and acquisitions and head of its U.K. operation, will leave in January, the bank said in a memorandum to employees last week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ambereen Choudhury in London at achoudhury@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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