Manisha Girotra will help start Moelis & Co, a global investment bank to set up their India operations. The former chief executive and country head of UBS AG in India, she will build mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, IPO advisory, PE funding business of the firm in India.

“The bank understands the importance of having a presence in India and want to build the business in a big way here and compete with the bulge bracket firms,” Manisha told VCCircle.

Moelis has presence in major markets like US, Europe, Australia, Japan and Dubai and 700 bankers advising clients on cross border and domestic mergers and acquisitions, business restructuring, IPO advisory. The group has its own private equity and hedge fund with total assets under management of more than $4 billion.

At a time when the investment banking businesses are going through pain of dwindling fees, slower deal activity and cost overruns resulting in pruning team size, Moelis will be cautious in expanding in India. Bulge bracket firms like Citigroup Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley India, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered Bank typically have a 20 banker set up in the investment banking team.

“I want to build the size of the team in line with the size of the market. Even though headcount is not a constraint for the bank, we would not want to have a huge team like other bulge bracket firms,” Manisha said. Moelis will have a team size of around 10-12 bankers over next six to 12 months.

Although Moelis claims it will put to use its global presence to win over clients in India, in a market where bulge bracket banks put their balance sheet to use for clients and win mandates, it will be difficult to compete without a balance sheet.

The former UBS head is very confident of the role of pure advisory banks in India. Manisha, who was with UBS for more than 13 years before quitting last November, believes a muted deal market is a good time to attract talent, get real estate and to align with clients and build a pipeline.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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