Royal Bank of Canada’s head of mergers and acquisitions for Europe is leaving the firm after eight years. Kevin Smith has informed the Canadian lender of his decision and will leave at the end of the year.
Smith was recruited from Standard Chartered in 2011 to become RBC’s first ever head of European M&A as part of a broader push into European corporate finance. Since then the bank has hired dozens of corporate financiers under Josh Critchley, and has expanded into equity capital markets and corporate broking.
Having navigated the financial crisis unscathed, RBC positioned itself as a challenger banks and built an advisory team of respected UK bankers like Smith and Mark Preston around its balance street strength. The bank has featured on a number of eye-catching mandates such as advising Melrose on its successful £8bn hostile offer for GKN last year, but it does not feature among the top ten advisers in EMEA.
A UK rainmaker with a specialism in the oil and gas sector, Smith was also co-head of global M&A at the bank and most recently advised Acacia Mining on its acquisition by Barrick Gold. A highly-respected banker, he has 30 years of experience in M&A having previously worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Lazard.
It’s not clear what Smith's next move will be but a number of banks are looking for individuals capable of delivering guaranteed clients and revenues. HSBC is building out its M&A business while Citigroup has said it is looking for a select number of superstars as it looks to push into the top three. But banks are proceeding with caution. European M&A volumes are down this year compared with 2018 and US firms continue to dominate the rankings.
RBC has yet to appoint a successor but this is not the only vacant seat it is looking to fill. The bank is also on the hunt for a new head of its industrials business in Europe after Chris Squires joined Jefferies this month. In an unrelated move This week RBC put around 40 people at risk of redundancy across equities, research and investment banking in London.
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