BofA Merrill strengthens Japan investment banking

M&A head Yuichiro Wakatsuki becomes head of investment banking as part of expanded management team.
Yuichiro Wakatsuki, BofA Merrill's new head of investment banking in Tokyo
Yuichiro Wakatsuki, BofA Merrill's new head of investment banking in Tokyo

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is strengthening the management of its investment banking business in Japan with the promotion of Yuichiro Wakatsuki to head of the division and the creation of a new chairman role for Takeo Kusunose.

Wakatsuki has been head of M&A since 2008 and is viewed as a rising talent within the bank, having won significant new clients and strengthened BofA Merrill’s existing relationships during a difficult period in Japan — before Abenomics and in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

His leadership has helped the bank to establish itself as the most consistent top-tier M&A house in Japan, with major roles on many of the country’s biggest and most significant deals during the past few years, including Osaka Securities Exchange’s merger with Tokyo Stock Exchange last year, Shiseido’s acquisition of Bare Escentuals in 2010, Suntory’s acquisition of Orangina-Schweppes in 2009 and Panasonic’s acquisition of Sanyo Electric in 2008.

Wakatsuki will continue to oversee the firm’s M&A business in the new position. His promotion to a leadership role for the investment banking business is a reflection of the increased corporate activity in Japan since prime minister Shinzo Abe started his programme of reforms last year.

“[Wakatsuki’s] appointment is a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to the Japanese market and our Japanese clients, at a time when corporate Japan is showing renewed aspirations for growth,” said Jiro Seguchi, head of Asia-Pacific global corporate and investment banking, in an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia.

Working closely with Kusunose, Wakatsuki is expected to replicate his success with the M&A franchise across the bank’s wider investment banking platform.

Kusunose has led the team since 2010 and in the newly created chairman role will be responsible for developing and deepening relationships with core accounts.

Both will report to Seguchi and Tim Latimore, country executive for Japan.

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