ABN Amro suffers more defections

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ABN Amro has been hit by another round of defections after recruiting raids from rivals.

Four bankers in the London-based infrastructure team left the Dutch bank last week to join Babcock & Brown, the Australian investment bank that hired ABN Amro's infrastructure team, based in Sydney and Melbourne, two months ago.

The defections are a further blow to ABN Amro, which lost a seven-strong corporate broking team to Citigroup in June. Their departures led to the staff that remained being offered guaranteed bonuses. Last month, a team of oil and gas bankers, led by Richard Kent, left to join Jefferies & Co, a mid-market investment bank.

Vaughan Wallace, Gavin Tait, Matt Hunt and Mike Leto have agreed to join Babcock & Brown in London. Wallace has started, while Tait, Hunt and Leto are on gardening leave, pending official announcements of their appointments.

Giles Frost, head of infrastructure at Babcock & Brown, said: "A number of discussions with individuals have taken place."

Further departures are expected after banking sources said Mark Dooley, head of ABN Amro's infrastructure capital team, and two colleagues are thought to be on the verge of joining Macquarie Bank, the Australian investment bank that is considering a bid for the London Stock Exchange.

One senior banker said: "ABN Amro has got one of the best teams in the business, but it is being raided by banks that are willing to pay more." Babcock & Brown is thought to be paying the recruits two-year guaranteed bonuses.

ABN Amro said: "We can confirm that a handful of staff from our infrastructure capital team have resigned from the bank. The resignations will not impact on us delivering to our clients on existing transactions."

The bank refused to comment on whether the infrastructure team would continue to operate past its existing commitments.

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