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Merrill Lynch, Japan banks expand equity teams

Published on Thursday, 20 Jun 2013

TOKYO:  Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch is hiring six people in Japan to bolster its equity sales and trading operations in the world’s best-performing major stock market.

Stephen O’Shea was recruited from Morgan Stanley to head sales, sales trading and execution services for Japan equity products, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The US bank is also hiring five salespeople and sales traders, another memo shows.

Bank of America joins Japan’s biggest banks in bolstering equity operations to compete with Nomura Holdings and Daiwa Securities Group on the back of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic stimulus efforts.

Average monthly trading volume of Topix Index stocks almost doubled to 78 billion shares since the end of December from about 41 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

O’Shea will start work in Tokyo on July 1, according to the first document, which was distributed on June 18. Geoffrey Bowman joined as a salesman from Mizuho Securities in June, the second memo sent on June 20 shows. Davor Jakelic will begin in August as the head of hedge fund coverage from Morgan Stanley, and Gavin Connor will join from Morgan Stanley as a sales trader in August, according to the document.

The US bank also hired Hiroaki Nagata from Nomura as a sales trader starting in August and Masakatsu Kondo from Citigroup as a salesman from July. Tsukasa Noda, a Tokyo- based spokesman at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, confirmed the contents of the two memos.

The volume of shares traded through Bank of America at the Tokyo Stock Exchange more than quadrupled in May from October, according to data compiled by Merrill Lynch.

Mizuho Financial Group, Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value, is also bolstering its equities operations in Japan by hiring six equity staff. Geoffrey Macdonald, a former Nomura manager, will join Mizuho as international sales trading head in July, a company official said last month.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the country’s second-biggest bank, plans to add 100 equity sales staff, traders and bankers abroad within three years. SMBC Nikko Securities  targets a 25 per cent increase in employees in Europe, the US and Asia to 500 by the year ending March 2016.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest bank, recruited two equity analysts from Deutsche Bank in May to strengthen its securities business. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities hired Masayuki Nagano as a senior analyst to cover Japanese trading companies and Seigo Ando for the transportation industry.

(Bloomberg)

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