RHB Bank Hires UBS's James Yeo as Regional M&A Head

  • Yeo expected to join RHB in newly created role in August
  • Dealmaker previously worked at Bank of America, Deutsche Bank

RHB Bank Bhd., the fifth-biggest Malaysian lender by market value, has hired UBS Group AG’s James Yeo as regional head of mergers and acquisitions, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Yeo, who was head of institutional client coverage for Southeast Asia at UBS Asset Management, will be based in Kuala Lumpur, according to the people. He is expected to join RHB in the newly created role in August, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

RHB is seeking to boost its share of M&A advisory work in Malaysia, where it trails local rivals including Malayan Banking Bhd. and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. The firm’s revenue from corporate and investment banking has fallen for each of the past three years, while revenue from its core retail banking franchise has been roughly flat, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Before joining UBS, Yeo was a director at Bank of America Corp. covering Singapore investment banking. He was earlier with Deutsche Bank AG, where he oversaw Southeast Asian industrials, according to his LinkedIn profile.

RHB ranked sixth among advisers on M&A deals involving Malaysian companies last year, with a 5.4 percent market share, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A representative at UBS declined to comment, while a spokeswoman for RHB didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries.

The hire comes after two of RHB’s most senior dealmakers decided to leave the firm. Head of M&A Soon Poh Lean and one of his key lieutenants, a director on the M&A team named Theresa Lim, have resigned from the Malaysian bank, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

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