Vella and Richdale are Goldman Sachs’ investment heads in Asia, while Leland is a Goldman veteran whose career spans 26 years at the investment bank. He is an adviser to European banks and asset managers and was approached last year to run the bank’s operations in Asia.
Other significant management changes include Raghav Maliah, Asia head for technology banking; Aaron Arth, head of equity capital markets; and Iain Drayton, who covers private equity funds and sovereign wealth funds in the region.
Italian-born banker Vella was closely involved in a corruption case involving a Malaysian bond offering that could result in a heavy penalty for the firm. He was also involved in the selling of a derivative sold to Libya’s sovereign wealth fund that wound up in court last year.
According to reports, multiple management changes have taken place under current CEO David Solomon – Goldman Sachs has has named a new president, replaced its CFO and appointed new executives to lead its trading business among other changes.
A WSJ report states how Asia has been a difficult region for Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, This is despite fast-growing economies, but underwriting fees are lower than in the U.S. and tend to be split among a bigger group of banks. Moreover, merger activity is deeply influenced by government officials.
Asia also happens to be the least profitable of Goldman’s divisions. In 2018, Goldman made $767mn in pretax profits in Asia, Australia and New Zealand – accounting for 11% of the firm’s total. However, Goldman is ranked as a leader in M&A and stock underwriting, and has led major deals like smartphone maker Xioami’s IPO and online service Meituan Dianping
Of Goldman’s three geographic divisions, Asia is the smallest and least profitable. The principal investments that once boosted returns—Goldman’s ownership stake in the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. was profitable enough to merit its own line item in the firm’s financial reports for years—have mostly rolled off.
In 2018’s first half, Goldman made $767 million in pretax profits in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, about 11% of the firmwide total. Asia is a small contributor to overall profits at most Western banks operating in the region. Goldman is ranked No. 1 this year in stock underwriting and M&A in the region, excluding Japan, according to Dealogic. It helped lead the Chinese IPOs of smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. and online-services platform Meituan Dianping , and is a lead underwriter of Tencent Music Group Entertainment’s upcoming listing in New York.