Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Two Goldman Sachs Asia Partners Said in Discussions to Leave

  • Challenging conditions for Wall Street firms in Asia
  • Miller heads investment-banking solutions for Asia Pacific

Two senior partners at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in Asia are in discussions about leaving the bank, people familiar with the matter said.

Asia Pacific Investment Banking Solutions head Anthony Miller is planning to depart the bank after 15 years with the firm, and Michael Smith, head of Southeast Asia and another Goldman partner, is also in talks about leaving, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Miller’s departure has yet to be finalized, according to one of the people. He was appointed to his current position in 2014. Smith has been with Goldman Sachs for 10 years.

The discussions come at a time of challenging conditions for the Asian investment-banking operations of large Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs. The banks are facing a combination of slowing regional economies, higher regulatory costs and tougher competition for deals, with Chinese securities firms making inroads into the business of advising mainland companies on cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

Goldman Sachs has been slipping in the league tables for investment-banking fees in Asia. Having occupied the number one slot in 2014 and 2015, the bank is ranked fourth for the period up to Sept. 25 this year, with fees of $319 million, compared with $477 million in 2015, according to data from researcher Freeman & Co.

Edward Naylor, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, declined to comment. Miller, based in Hong Kong, and Smith, based in Singapore, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Planned Cuts

The planned departures, which have been in discussion for several months, are not part of the imminent job cuts at Goldman’s Asia investment-banking division, the people said. The New York-based bank is planning sweeping staff reductions in Asia later this year, involving about a quarter of the positions at its investment-banking unit, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week.

Miller was previously Sydney-based head of the Goldman Sachs financing group in Australia. He became a partner in 2011 following Goldman’s buyout of its Australian business. In addition to heading Southeast Asia, Smith heads the bank’s Asian real estate team.

Under Smith, Goldman Sachs has managed some of the biggest real estate deals in Singapore, including the initial public offerings of Mapletree Investments Pte’s industrial, commercial and Greater China units during the past six years. He replaced Hsin Yue Yong, the former head of investment banking for Southeast Asia, who left Goldman Sachs last year.

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