A leading Singapore banker has just quit the sector to join…Singtel

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Vashistha Maheshwari, CICC’s head of Singapore M&A, has left the banking sector to join Singtel. His move comes as tech firms in Asia continue to build out their in-house M&A teams.

Maheshwari worked for CICC for just under two years, focused on M&A advisory across China, South Asia and Southeast Asia, according to his public profile. He leaves CICC after it finished in eighth position in Dealogic's Asia (ex-Japan) M&A revenue table by bank for the first quarter.

At Singtel, Maheshwari will be making strategic investments in the technology and telecoms sectors. The Singaporean telecoms giant is renown for its global acquisitions, so it’s likely that Maheshwari will have plenty on his plate. It owns Australia’s second largest telecoms firm, Optus, and has invested in Bharti Airtel (India), Telkomsel (Indonesia), Globe Telecom (the Philippines) and Advanced Info Service (Thailand).

Maheshwari is not the only former senior investment banker at Singtel, which employs about 23,000 people globally. Anand Ramachandran, head of group strategy, joined the firm from Barclays in 2017, where he’d been a Hong Kong-based managing director.

Singtel is following in the footsteps of major Chinese technology firms, which have been taking on in-house M&A bankers to help with domestic and overseas acquisitions.

The trend was kick started in 2015 when Michael Evans, the former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs, became the president of Alibaba Group. It has gathered pace in the past two to three years and has extended below the C-suite. Shirley Xue, assistant general manager for M&A finance at Tencent was previously a director at Deutsche Bank, while Ernest Fung, head of international corporate at JD.com, was a director at Citi.

New Singtel recruit Maheshwari spent the first four years of his own career at Citi’s investment bank in India. He moved to Singapore in 2015 and worked for Barclays in an M&A advisory role covering Southeast Asia, latterly at VP level. Maheshwari joined CICC in July 2017.

Image credit: Petegar, Getty

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