South Korea’s NH Investment & Securities has hired a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory specialist to strengthen its presence in the lucrative M&A advisory market.

NH Investment & Securities announced on May 4 that it had appointed Jason Lee to lead its M&A advisory team. The firm also made a structural change to elevate the team to a specialized business department directly belonging to one of two divisions at the top of its investment banking (IB) unit hierarchy.

NH Investment & Securities’ IB unit consists of two divisions – Business Division 1 and Business Division 2 – with five and three departments under each division respectively. With this change the M&A team was elevated to a business department reporting directly to the head of Business Division 1, Yoon Byoung-un.

“Strengthening the M&A advisory business appears to be a driving force behind NH Investment & Securities’ latest organizational change,” a source said.

Jason Lee is known as an M&A specialist. Before joining NH Investment & Securities he worked as head of strategy development at Belgian chemical company Solvay. Lee also had a managerial role at Woori Investment & Securities which was merged with NH Nonghyup Securities in 2014 to form NH Investment & Securities.

“Both Yoon Byoung-un and Jason Lee started their career at LG Securities before working together at Woori Investment & Securities,” said the source. “From what I understand Yoon has put a lot of efforts to have Lee in his team. It will be interesting to see how the long-standing relationship between them creates synergies.”

In 2016 NH Investment & Securities came ninth in the bell’s M&A financial advisors league tables based on completed deals, with the firm advising on five deals. But the ranking fell to 20th in 2017 and to 23rd in the following year. In 2019 no deal was advised on by the firm.

“NH Investment & Securities has seen plenty of departures from its M&A team recently,” another source said. “The latest organizational change appears to signal that the firm will continue to hire staff for M&A advisory services.”

NH Investment & Securities’ M&A advisory team has about 10 members. It is currently advising on the sale of a controlling stake in Insung Data, which operates deliver services app Logiall. (Reporting by Byung-yoon Kim)