EY and the big banks exchange executives with new Asia appointments

04 September 2018 Consultancy.asia 3 min. read

Professional services firm Ernst & Young and the big banks are exchanging executives in Asia according to recent reports, with ex-CIMB co-head of wholesale banking Mah Kah Loon inbound, and former EY Financial Services Partner Julie Kerr to take up a post with Citigroup.

As reportedly confirmed by Malaysia’s CIMB Bank, one of the largest Southeast Asian banks operating in the region and beyond, its current co-head of wholesale banking in Singapore Mah Kah Loon will leave the financial institute to take up a partnership role with EY’s Asian mergers & acquisitions and deal origination practice, according to a report from Reuters.

Mah has been with the organisation for over 15 years, starting out in 2002 as Head of Corporate Finance for the Singapore-based CIMB-GK Securities (now CIMB Securities), which provides institutional and retail broking, wealth management and corporate advisory services under the CIMB umbrella across Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bangkok, London and New York.

Following a near seven-year stint with the CIMB Securities entity, Mah moved through the ranks at CIMB in a variety of positions, including Deputy Head of Corporate Finance for ASEAN, Managing Director and Head, Corporate and Investment Banking in Singapore, and, most recently, Co-Head Wholesale Banking, Singapore.EY and the big banks exchange executive appointments in AsiaWith an MBA in Business Management from the London Business School (to go with a LLB Hons. degree from King's College London), Mah originally began his finance career in 1994 as a manager in corporate finance for Citibank in Singapore, and with further stints at OCBC Bank, Vickers Ballas & Co, and DBS Bank has over 20 years of investment banking experience – in that time advising on many leading capital markets and M&A transactions.

Now, as per the Reuters report which cites unnamed sources close to the matter, Mah will from October join EY as a partner in its Asia M&A and Deal Origination practice, with an intended focus on the Southeast Asian market – with the Big Four firm’s Transaction Advisory Services arm recently reporting robust M&A appetite and growing market confidence in the Asia-Pacific region, albeit tempered by valuation and competition challenges.

Meanwhile, EY in Hong Kong is set to lose a partner from its APAC Financial Services, Wealth & Asset Management division, with further recent reports (via internal memos obtained by Bloomberg and confirmed by a Citigroup’ spokesperson) that Julie Kerr has been picked up by US-headquartered investment bank Citigroup as its new Asia-Pacific head of custody and fund services. Kerr has been with EY for nearly six years and has a wealth of experience dating back to 1992 in various finance and asset management roles across Hong Kong and the UK.

Last month, long-term EY executive Patrick Winter took over the role as the firm's Area Managing Partner for the Asia Pacific after being appointed in a succession plan last year, to now lead a business generating $4 billion in combined revenues and 44,000 people across 22 countries in what is EY's fastest growing geographic area. Before shifting to Hong Kong, Winter spent over 16 years in the Big Four firm's Transaction Advisory Services division in Australia, making partner in 1998.