Rothschild taps ex-Daiwa banker to bolster Japan expansion

May 8, 2023 – Rothschild & Co. named Daiwa Securities Group’s former co-head of investment banking as vice-chair for Japan to strengthen its business in the country.

The French investment bank hired Yuichi Akai to expand its Japan business and grow its team in the country, according to a statement from the bank on Monday.

Akai’s hiring is part of a plan to accelerate Rothschild’s ambitions in Asia. The Paris-based company is adding staff in Japan as other banks are slashing headcount globally amid slowing business activity.

Morgan Stanley plans to cut an additional 3,000 employees, just months after it trimmed about 2% of its workforce, Bloomberg reported last week.

“Japan is a strategic market for Rothschild in Asia,” Jerome Finck, head of Japan for Rothschild & Co., said in an interview. “We see strong potential in the Japan market, and we are acting accordingly. When it comes to business flow, we have a healthy pipeline.”

Rothschild is investing in Japan for the long term, Finck said, adding that the bank’s decision isn’t driven by cyclical trends.

The company has moved to a larger office in Tokyo and added five people in the past two years, bringing its headcount in the country to about 20. The bank plans to continue hiring selectively for both junior and senior investment-banking roles, Finck added.

The Rothschild firm is seeing more Japan companies seek acquisition and investment opportunities in the U.S. and Europe, and vice versa. Finck said the country’s merger activities are busier than other regions. The average deal sizes are expected to be less than $1 billion — similar to trends the bank saw in the past, Finck added.

The bank is also looking to expand its domestic merger and acquisition advisory for Japan, a step up from its core focus of cross-border deals.

Akai started on Monday, following a near four-decade career at Daiwa. He held roles as senior managing director and the co-lead of its global investment banking division at the Japanese brokerage firm.

Japan-related M&A drove deal-making in Asia before the pandemic. The country’s cash-rich corporations spent heavily to buy overseas companies, while private equity firms searched for undervalued operations in Japan.

Rothschild & Co. advised Asahi Group Holdings on a series of deals worth more than $20 billion as the Japanese brewer bought beer brands in Europe and Australia in recent years.

The bank was also the adviser to Mitsubishi as it exited its Australian thermal coal operations in combined deals worth about $530 million in 2018.

Image by: Japan Times

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