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City Grandees Join Forces For New Firm

(c) Sky News 2013

Two of the City's most prominent corporate advisers are joining forces in a move that highlights the growing number of senior bankers choosing to ply their trade outside the world's biggest banks.

I understand that Simon Robey, who until this week headed the UK operation of Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) , the Wall Street giant, is going into partnership with Sir Simon Robertson, the grandee who chairs Rolls-Royce, the aerospace group.

The formation of Robertson Robey Associates LLP will, I understand, be confirmed in a statement due later.

The new firm will not focus specifically on mergers and other transactions but offer a broad array of corporate advice similar to that provided by Sir Simon's own firm in recent years.

The news underlines a growing trend for seasoned corporate dealmakers to leave so-called "bulge bracket" banks in the wake of the financial crisis, which has seen many large financial institutions substantially shrink their corporate advisory businesses.

Many senior bankers privately complain that they are unable to offer unfettered advice to clients because of pressure from elsewhere in their banks to sell other products to major companies.

However, some of the new breed of "boutique" advisory firms have found life tough because of the dearth of mergers and stock market listings in recent times.

Mr Robey, who had spent 25 years at Morgan Stanley, advised on many of the biggest takeovers involving British companies during that period.

He worked on last year's aborted merger talks between BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) , the defence contractor, and European counterpart EADS (Paris: NL0000235190 - news) , has been a key adviser to Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) since its rescue by British taxpayers, and helped steer BP (LSE: BP.L - news) through the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

Mr Robey is also chairman of the Royal Opera House, for which he is recruiting a new chief executive following the departure of Tony Hall to become director-general of the BBC.

Sir Simon, who is expected to step down as chairman of Rolls-Royce at this year's annual meeting, is a former partner at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) . He is also deputy chairman of HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) and a non-executive director of The Economist's parent company.

Robertson Robey Associates is expected to advise a limited number of major international companies and is expected to limit its work, at least initially, to a small number of companies in each industry sector

A spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment.