Senior HSBC investment banker makes curious career switch into intelligence

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For the past 16 years, Michael Bevan has held various senior investment banking roles at HSBC in London, Dubai and Hong Kong. Now, however, he’s embarking on a curious new career – working for an intelligence firm that flies under the radar in London's leafy Marylebone, but helps clients in frontier markets across the world.

Bevan is understood to have started a new role at G3, a London-based firm that describes itself as operating in business intelligence, providing discreet advice and investigations to protect the interests of clients that include super-rich families and large oil companies. He is joining as the chief financial officer.

Bevan is not exactly the typical recruit of G3. Many other executives carefully describe themselves as ex-members of the UK Foreign Service, who happen to have spent time in exotic postings like Yemen and the Horn of Africa, which paints a different picture of their pasts. It also counts August Hanning, the former head of the German intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst) and Paddy Ashdown, previously head of the Liberal Democrats and an ex-UK intelligence officer, among its advisers.

For any bankers aspiring for a move into the world of espionage, Bevan’s background provides a few clues as to why he was hired. He’s lived in the Middle East and Asia for the past decade, racking up deal experience in frontier markets Iraq, Palestine and Algeria.

Bevan is understood to be expanding the services G3 offers to hedge fund and private equity firms. He was latterly head of sovereign wealth fund coverage for APAC at HSBC, and his LinkedIn profile suggests that large SWFs like CIC, GIC and Tamasek were among his clients as well as PE firms like Blackstone, KKR and Bain. He also spent six years as head of equity capital markets for the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa in the United Arab Emirates.

G3 is understood to provide intelligence on potential investments including validation of the individuals involved in the deals, and also information on investments should they go wrong. One PE firm we contacted praised G3’s “careful discretion” and suggested their focus was on “human intelligence” during an investigation, rather than relying on data alone.

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Image: Getty Images

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