BoA Merrill poaches Charles Alexander from Standard Chartered

Bank of America Merrill Lynch lures Charles Alexander to head corporate banking coverage for Asia-Pacific, just two years after he joined Standard Chartered.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has poached Charles Alexander from Standard Chartered as head of corporate banking coverage for Asia-Pacific. In an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia, BoA Merrill announced Alexander will come on board in June, presumably after serving his gardening leave.

He will report globally to Joel Van Dusen, deputy head of global corporate banking, and regionally to Brian Brille, president of Asia-Pacific. 

For the past two years, Alexander has worked at Standard Chartered where he was regional head of origination and client coverage for Northeast Asia, reporting to Vis Shankar. Shankar is group head of origination and client coverage, and chairman of principal finance and private banking. A Standard Chartered spokesperson said a replacement for Alexander will be announced in due course.

BoA Merrill has signed up a veteran banker. Before he joined Standard Chartered, Alexander spent a decade at Lehman Brothers. He was head of Asia corporate finance at Lehman when he jumped ship. Alexander joined Lehman in 1998 in Europe and moved with the firm to Hong Kong in October 2004. He has been an investment banker since 1987 when he joined J.P. Morgan after a five-year stint at McKinsey. Alexander initially worked with J.P. Morgan in Europe, then in 1993 moved to India as deputy managing director of J.P. Morgan's India joint venture, ICICI Securities (which was subsequently dissolved). 

"This is a significant hire," said Brille in the memo. "Charles has a uniquely relevant background in corporate and investment banking as well as a depth of experience in Asia."

BoA Merrill is on a hiring spree in Asia, as it seeks to rebuild its franchise and wrest market share from competitors. Yesterday AsianInvestor reported that Gene Reilly has resigned from Goldman Sachs and will join BoA Merrill in Hong Kong to head Asian equity trading. 

The US bank has also been busy bolstering ranks in debt capital markets (DCM). Earlier this month, Michael Luk, head of Asia fixed-income capital markets and Asia leveraged DCM at Deutsche Bank, resigned to join BoA Merrill to head up DCM for Asia-Pacific, according to sources close to the development. And, in December, the firm poached Ranobir Mukherji from UBS to run Asia DCM. Rumours are rife in banking circles that among the enticements being offered by BoA Merrill to lure talent are guaranteed two-year packages. 

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