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Investec Appoints Ben Smith Australian Investment Bank Head

Investec Plc, which owns a bank and money manager in South Africa and the U.K., named Ben Smith as head of investment banking in Australia after Christian Nicks quit amid losses and job cuts.

Smith, a senior corporate adviser, has been with Investec since 2001 and was an executive with Wentworth Associates, Johannesburg- and London-based Investec said in an e-mailed statement today. Nicks ran the investment bank for four years.

Investec cut 80 jobs and closed or scaled back its Australian securities, equity capital markets and structured financial products businesses in the six months through September after the bank’s operations in the country reported a loss of A$12 million ($10.5 million). In November, it appointed Ernst & Young, King & Wood Mallesons and Greenhill to review the potential sale of some Australian units.

There have been no developments since then, Ursula Nobrega, head of investor relations at Investec, said in an e-mailed response to questions today.

“The sale process is ongoing,” she said. “We have received interest from a number of parties.”

Investec fell 1.6 percent to 70.25 rand by the close of trading in Johannesburg.

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