One of London’s best-known investment bankers is bowing out after 18 years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Rupert Hume-Kendall, one of the best-known dealmakers in the City, is stepping down from his position as chairman of global corporate and investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is set to leave the City altogether.
The 52-year-old banker is one of the highest profile Merrill Lynch bankers to have survived the investment bank’s takeover by Bank of America at the time of the financial crisis.
The deal, which followed financial meltdown at Merrill Lynch, led to an exodus of investment bankers, such as Bob Wigley, Mark Aedy and Matthew Greenburgh.
It is only in the past three to four years that the bank has fully recovered its poise in the London investment banking tables.
“I'm pleased to have worked for a world leading American bank for such a substantial period, I think resilience and integrity are key attributes for a long stay in this industry,” Hume-Kendall told City A.M. yesterday, as he announced his impending departure from banking.
Hume-Kendall said he was pleased to have stayed with the bank during the tumultuous period following the merger.
“Bank of America was determined to return the firm to where it was pre crisis, we were number one then and it’s no surprise to see us back in the top slot again now.”
In the years preceding the crash Hume-Kendall was involved in many of the bank’s major deals, during a period he terms as “one of my most productive.”
“If you are relevant in financial markets, in the flow, and you have a career in new issues, one or two may unfortunately go down.”
There were one or two deals, such as the flotation of Sports Direct, Michael Ashley’s sports discount retailer, where shares trailed the issue price for months after the deal. Shares were worth less than a third of their issue price a year after the deal, though now, years later, they are worth more than double the 300p a share issue price.
Now he says: “If one looks back at one’s career, unfortunately some go down. But you need to stay engaged and be in the flow.”
As the bank regrouped after the merger with Bank of America, Hume-Kendall was one of its star names. His network of contacts, which extended overseas and especially to China, South America and Australia, helped bring in a number of big deals such as the flotation of Saga, the insurance group, and the sale of shares in St James's Place by Lloyds Bank.
When the transport group First Group wanted to get an unexpected and largely unpopular share issue off the ground in 2013, Hume-Kendall’s personal relationship with one of the people on the deal ensured that Bank of America Merrill Lynch got a slice of the action unexpectedly, despite JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs being the company’s main advisers.
In the past couple of years, Hume-Kendall has largely stepped back from the limelight of deal-making and many in the City felt it was only a matter of time before he agreed a timely exit from the scene.
Have things changed much since he first joined the bank? “The pricing decisions and the judgment areas haven’t changed but there’s been an increase in transparency. If that allows investors to buy shares with better information that’s got to be a good thing. If that means more hoops for bankers to jump, it means they have to work harder. There’s been a tightening up, but the industry required further regulation.”