SYDNEY, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Investment bank Lazard Ltd
said on Friday it is reorganising its Australia operations,
retaining its wealth management arm in the country in-house but
handing over mergers and acquisitions advisory services to a
new, "affiliated" firm.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation said a
number of redundancies were announced at the firm on Thursday,
without disclosing how many jobs were affected. The person spoke
on condition of anonymity because the details were private.
A Lazard spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the
new advisory firm in Australia will retain an "affiliation" with
Lazard and be headed by Melbourne-based Andrew Leyden, a
seasoned infrastructure and energy banker who currently heads
the firm in the country.
The move comes amid a shake-up in the investment banking
market in Australia, with South Africa's Investec
announcing plans to exit from the country in December, while
newcomers such Barrenjoey -backed by Barclays Plc- and
local firm Jarden, raid competitors for talent.
Lazard "regularly reviews our global footprint; assessing
local office productivity and potential for future growth," the
spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. There would be "no
impact on Lazard Asset Management in Australia", she added.
"We have good visibility on the Australian financial
advisory business and decided this was the right time."
Australian investment banking revenue for the first nine
months of 2020 was 3.2% lower at $1.5 billion as activity volume
halved, according to Refinitiv data, with the global coronavirus
pandemic disrupting economies and hurting business confidence
around the world.
Lazard was 10th in target advisory rankings, according to
Refinitiv, while Goldman Sachs topped the same league
Last year Lazard acted as defence advisor for wind and solar
firm Infigen Energy, and is currently advising New
Zealand's takeover target Tilt Renewables Ltd, on
condition of anonymity.
"A core team will continue to work on all current mandates,"
the spokeswoman added.
The person with direct knowledge of the matter said the new
firm was expected to operate in a similar partnership model to
Lazard's operations in South Korea, where in 2013 it established
a "strategic alliance" instead of a fully owned office.
(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Kenneth