Bankers Trust New York Corp. has appointed David Williams as deputy chairman of its Australian banking unit, paving the way for him to take over the bank's fast-growing operation when the current chairman, David Hoare, retires at yearend.
Mr. Williams was head of the Australian unit's human resources department.
Analysts said they expect few changes as a result of the changeover, noting that operating responsibilities remain in the hands of Rob Ferguson, the Australian unit's veteran managing director.
Over the last several years, Bankers Trust Australia Ltd., based in Sydney, has emerged as one of Australia's top investment banks. The unit, which provides a wide variety of financial services, has also become an important source of profits for the U.S. based bank at a time when Bankers Trust is still struggling to build back revenues after several years of costly litigation linked to derivatives trading.
Third-quarter earnings at Bankers Trust Australia rose 95% to $43 million, a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster profit picture at Bankers Trust.
"If there's one part of the bank they have reason not to be demoralized about, it's Australia," said Raphael Soifer, a bank analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.
Testifying to the unit's growing importance, Bankers Trust last year shifted oversight of its worldwide fund management to Australia under Ian Martin, executive vice president and head of global funds management. Several other operations, including the bank's global metals and mining group, also report to the Australian unit.
BT Australia concentrates on retail and institutional fund management; capital markets, including underwriting, distributing and trading debt and equity; and corporate finance activities, including advisory services and syndications. At midyear, Bankers Trust had some $23 billion under management in Australia. Of that, around $13 billion was in mutual, pension, and institutional funds and $9 billion was in retail funds.
The rapid growth of Bankers Trust's Australian unit has been accompanied by a concerted drive by the New York City-based bank to build up similar investment banking and fund management operations in other parts of the world.
As part of the drive, Bankers Trust last month opened offices in South Africa and Tel Aviv. The bank has also moved since 1995 to expand its operations in Southeast Asia out of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and struck a joint venture with Brazil's Banco Itau SA to develop trading, underwriting and asset management in Latin America.