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Goldman S'pore investment bank team down by a third

Retirement, transfers and redundancies lead to 15 departures while bank says it remains committed to Singapore

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Goldman Sachs Singapore's investment banking team has shrunk by about 30 per cent after the departure of 15 people.

Singapore

GOLDMAN Sachs Singapore's investment banking team has shrunk by about 30 per cent after the departure of 15 people.

The team had about 45 people but is now down to 30, a source said, adding: "It probably grew the team too quickly."

The reasons for the exits include retirements, re-assignments to the US and Hong Kong, a small number of redundancies and some performance related departures, the source said.

According to Bloomberg, Yong Hsin Yue, who headed Goldman Sachs's investment banking for South-east Asia, decided to leave the firm by the end of February.

Other exits are Ruben Bhagobati, Goldman Sachs's head of South-east Asia mergers and acquisitions, and Singapore-based managing director Antoine Izard.

Tim Leissner, who relocated to Singapore last year to be South-east Asia chairman, will work closely with Singapore-based partners Michael Smith and Dan Swift after Ms Yong's departure, said Bloomberg.

Ms Yong, who has been with the US investment bank some 17 years, is retiring, the source added.

Other banks have also been contracting as increasing regulatory compliance bites into profit and Asian growth slows.

Last November, Standard Chartered announced 2,000 job cuts in Asia as it closed branches, in addition to not replacing 2,000 positions from staff departures.

Goldman Sachs spokesman Edward Naylor declined to comment on the departures, but said the bank's commitment to Singapore has not changed.

"Though we've made some adjustments to our banking team we actually remain quite positive about the outlook for all our businesses in South-east Asia," he said.

Goldman Sachs has about 800 staff in Singapore, of which 300 are in the frontline, in sales and trading. In Asia, it employs about 5,000 people.

Its biggest business is the securities unit which includes debt, equity, forex, sales and trading.

Other businesses here are asset management and private banking.

The New York-based firm was the fifth-busiest mergers and acquisitions adviser in South-east Asia last year with an 11.8 per cent market share, up from eighth place in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It ranked 10th among arrangers of equity and equity-linked offerings in South-east Asia, up from 12th place a year earlier, the data show.