High-level growth reflects potential

02/07/2008 - 22:00

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It's probably no surprise to see the number of investment bankers rising in line with the amount of work available.

It's probably no surprise to see the number of investment bankers rising in line with the amount of work available.

All the big houses are growing their expertise and, while the quantum is not huge in the greater scheme of things, the changes are high level and well recognised within the industry.

Take Azure Capital, for instance.

A year ago it had four directors, with Mark Barnaba and John Poynton taking the public roles and Geoff Rasmussen and Simon Price sitting more behind the scenes.

Now it has eight directors as well as the newly created role of chief operating officer. The four new directors are Michael Minosora, who has come on board from Woodside Petroleum Ltd as managing director, along with Adam Rankine-Wilson and Alec Pismiris formerly of Capital Investment Partners, and the most recent addition, former Woodside executive Geoff Ward.

Chief operating officer James McMahon, a former SAS commander and a West Coast Eagles board member, said Azure's objective had been to add skills at the top end so that the firm provided a full suite of advisory services from a local base with 30 staff.

Mr McMahon said the firm was busy across the whole corporate finance spectrum, with debt financing being particularly active.

"It is reflective of a busy economy," he said.

Among the more active players in the local corporate finance sector is UBS, which has committed to putting staff on the ground after a busy period as a fly-in, fly-out operator.

Heading up the new office is Richard Saywell, who believes the decision to set up shop in the west was relatively easy and meant UBS was much better placed to get involved in transactions here.

"We see so many quality mid-sized mining and mining services companies in Western Australia with strong growth opportunities," Mr Saywell said.

Another office to have undergone strong growth is Macquarie Bank, which now boasts 11 corporate finance and equity capital markets advisers, one of the bigger Perth teams.

Martin Alciaturi joined Macquarie less than two years ago, playing his part in the musical chairs in the sector.

"We are probably one that has scaled up the most," Mr Alciaturi said.

Another newcomer to the scene in the accounting world's corporate advisory teams is Andrew Annand who has returned to WA from Queensland to head Deloitte's team in Perth.

At leading boutique firm Gresham Advisory Partners, former corporate lawyer Justin Mannolini joined late last year as a director, following in the footsteps of Perth practice chief Michael Ashforth.

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