Brijesh Pande has just finished the master's in finance at London Business School. Previously head of fixed income capital markets at Citigroup in Indonesia, he joined a leading Australian bank in Singapore as head of FX, interest rates and derivatives corporate sales for South
Asia after his course finished. We've asked Brijesh a few questions below. He will also be available to answer selected questions from readers between 21 and 23 July inclusive.
Did you always plan to go back to Asia when the course ends?
Yes. I've had about 10 years' experience working in Asia, so I wanted an assignment which would leverage my previous experience. I'd obviously get a lot more credit for what I've done already if I went back to the Asian markets.
What benefits have you gained from studying a master's?
It's given me the intellectual confidence to be better at my job. Although I headed a sales desk before, the breadth of products and intellectual expertise in London is vast by comparison. The master's has given me the opportunity to pick that up in a tight timeframe. London Business School in particular has given me the opportunity to learn from some of the leading global finance academics, which has greatly augmented my theoretical foundation in the finance arena.
Do you think South East Asia will be discouraged from adopting structured products by what's happened to credit markets?
SE Asian corporates have largely escaped the credit crisis, but as a result of it they find that not only are they operating in a challenging credit environment, but that their operating cost base is now exposed to large-scale inflationary risk arising from the sustained momentum in commodities markets. In such an uncertain environment, I believe corporates will need structured risk solutions more than ever.
What about securitised products?
I'm not very bullish about illiquid and very complicated structured products because a) investor (and corporate) confidence has been dampened by the dismal performance of the highly rated mortgage related structured products, (b) most of the top banks in the structured
credit space do not have the same risk appetite they had 12 months ago, and (c) there is still doubt about the ratings of complicated OTC securities.
Should local banks in South East Asia be trying to capitalise on international banks' problems?
Local banks (or regional banks which had limited exposure to the US mortgage markets) definitely have more capital available at this point and this could be used to aggressively build out a business. But the key to success is being able to attract decent intellectual capital in the sales and trading space. If they can do that, they will be able to move into businesses traditionally dominated by US banks. It is precisely this kind of opportunity that has attracted me to my new employer.
Post a question below for Brijesh to answer between 21 and 23 July inclusive (only questions which are answered will be made live).