BofA Merrill appoints Yacenda as HK chief

US bank appoints Richard Yacenda as Hong Kong country executive in addition to his role as Asia-Pacific COO.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has appointed Richard Yacenda as its Hong Kong country executive, in addition to his current role as Asia-Pacific chief operating officer, according to an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia.

The memo, dated September 29, was signed off by Matthew Koder, BoF Merrill's president of Asia-Pacific.

Yacenda replaces Jayanti Bajpai, who was previously the US firm's Hong Kong country executive as well as its co-head of Asia-Pacific global corporate and investment banking. Bajpai returned to London from Hong Kong during the first quarter of this year to become vice chairman of Europe, the Middle East and Africa global corporate and investment banking.

Yacenda will continue to report to Koder in both capacities, as Hong Kong country executive and Asia-Pacific chief operating officer (COO), and will represent Hong Kong in the Asia-Pacific Executive Committee.

According to the memo, Yacenda will be responsible for driving the strategic direction of the firm's franchise in Hong Kong and “building and maintaining our relationships with local regulators.”

Compliance and regulation has been an area of increasing focus for investment banks in recent years as many have had run-ins with regulators. For example, Singapore's regulator last year censured 20 banks over allegedly fixing local benchmark rates.

Yacenda joined BofA Merrill in 2013 from Deutsche Bank, where he had been deputy COO since 2006. At that time, he was the latest in a string of high-profile hires to join BofA Merrill from Deutsche Bank since the US bank poached Loh Boon Chye to be the head of Asia-Pacific global markets in October 2012.

Yacenda has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry, 16 of which have been in Asia-Pacific in various senior positions. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong for more than 10 years.

In addition to Yacenda's appointment, BofA Merrill has recently added to its China investment banking team, having poached Alex To, Morgan Stanley’s chairman of China investment banking. To is joining BofA Merrill as its head of China investment banking and co-head of China global corporate & investment banking, according to an internal bank memo seen last month.

To will be based in Hong Kong and work closely with Xiaoguang Huang, also a co-head of China global & corporate investment banking, according to the memo. 

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