Cover Story: Finance Stars: Dealmakers
MEET THE NEW WORLD TRAVELERS
Have knowhow, will travel: Finance wizards are using U.S.-style strategies and techniques around the globe, helping to build modern investment banks and markets from Russia to Hong KongReturn to top
BORIS FYODOROV & CHARLIE RYAN
Chairman & CEO, United Financial Group
Three years ago they were working in a rundown apartment with orange crates for desks. Today, their United Financial Group boasts a sparkling Moscow headquarters. Boris Fyodorov, 39, UFG's chairman, and Charlie Ryan, 30, its American chief executive officer, head of one of Russia's top investment banks. Blending their disparate skills, they have helped transform the Russian market by finding new ways to tap equity and lure investors. "They effectively work in Russia with the same mentality you find in New York," says Daniel Connor, manager of Geneva-based Eastern Capital Fund, which UFG advises.
UFG has stayed in front by spotting opportunities that others missed. It was the first to reap big profits by steering investors toward Russia's newly established oil holding companies. It also pioneered investment vehicles that provided foreign investors with easy access to Russian stocks.
UFG is the brainchild of Fyodorov, an economist twice fired as finance minister after pushing radical economic reforms. But Fyodorov says Ryan, an energetic Harvard-educated banker, is "definitely the driving force." With the days of orange crates behind it, UFG aims to become a full-service investment bank as the market matures.By Patricia Kranz in MoscowReturn to top
PHILIP TOSE & FRANCIS LEUNG
Partners, Peregrine Securities
`We are acting as the financial bridge between China and the rest of the world," says Francis P.T. Leung, 43. A bold assertion, but not far from the truth. Leung is group managing director of Hong Kong's Peregrine Investments Holdings Ltd., the largest and most profitable investment bank in Asia. Peregrine's greatest strength is underwriting Hong Kong and Chinese corporate companies and bringing them to the international capital markets. The firm marries an insider's knowledge of Asia with Western-style expertise in capital markets and distribution systems. Peregrine played a key role in developing Asian bond markets.
These days, Leung, a Hong Kong Chinese, and Philip L. Tose, 51, an upperclass Englishman, may no longer be an odd couple. And they plan to double their capital base to keep ahead of the big U.S. firms. Down the road, Leung's boast could well become reality.By Mark L. Clifford in Hong KongReturn to top
Investment Banking/Europe, Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co.
Dennis Stevenson faced a huge task three years ago when he took the helm of GPA Group PLC, a troubled Irish aircraft leaser. Keeping it from going under would require getting some 150 banks to write down $4 billion in debt, one of the biggest debt restructurings in corporate history. It took two years of intense negotiations to do it. "I needed an investment bank that was big, powerful, and muscular," says Stevenson. "I called Studzinski."
That's a call a lot of European CEOs have made in the past few years. John J. Studzinski, head of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co.'s investment-banking operations in Europe, was instrumental in propelling the firm to the top of the heap. It has advised on 71 deals worth $83 billion so far this year. Studzinski is Boston-born, with a University of Chicago MBA. But since arriving at Morgan's London office 13 years ago, he has forged bonds of trust with a number of key execs. Stevenson and Kees J. Storm, chairman of Dutch giant Aegon Insurance Group, among other CEOs, consider him a close friend.
Those ties help. When British drugmaker Amersham International PLC merged its Japanese unit with Japan's Nihon Medi-Physics Co. last year, Morgan Stanley got the business, partly because of Amersham Chief Executive William Castell's ties to Studzinski. Says Castell: "John's in the hard core of people helping to develop our strategy." Morgan Stanley plans on keeping Studzinski ready for the next call.By Thane Peterson in LondonReturn to top