JM Financial hires fixed income team from BoA Merrill Lynch

JM Financial builds its fixed-income capabilities by bringing on board Sanjeev Bajaj, Shashwat Belapurkar and Dhiraj Dave from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in India.

Nimesh Kampani-founded Indian investment bank JM Financial Services is strengthening its fixed-income business in Mumbai. 

JM has appointed Sanjeev Bajaj as head of fixed income, with additional charge to step up JM's operations in Dubai and Singapore, and Shashwat Belapurkar as head of debt capital markets, sales and trading in fixed income. Dhiraj Dave will join JM Financial's asset reconstruction company.

Bajaj and Belapurkar will join JM as managing directors, while Dave will be an associate director, said sources familiar with the development, who added that they will be on board within a week.

Bajaj was country treasurer of Bank of America in India until May this year.

In India the integration of Bank of America with DSP Merrill Lynch, the Indian subsidiary of Merrill Lynch, happened a few months after the global takeover of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America in September last year.

Both Bank of America and DSP had separate primary dealership licenses and under guidelines of the Indian banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, the combined entity could only hold one. Bank of America Merrill Lynch chose to cancel the license held by DSP, thus DSP Merrill Lynch Securities Trading ceased to be a primary dealer with effect from June. Jayesh Mehta, who headed DSP's primary dealership, was appointed country treasurer and head of fixed income for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in India in the middle of this year.

Belapurkar was a managing director and head of debt capital markets at DSP, while Dave worked in the fixed-income division.

"JM Financial will in due course launch a primary dealership," said a source. Broadly, primary dealers are allowed to underwrite primary issues of government securities, to provide broking services and to deal in government securities. This has traditionally been a lucrative area for both domestic investment banks such as I-Sec (ICICI Securities) Primary Dealership and Axis Bank, as well as foreign banks such as J.P. Morgan. Morgan Stanley last week announced it has obtained a PD license.

JM has strong relationships in the market on the back of which it has established a strong standing in areas such as equity capital markets, said a source. It now intends to leverage these on the fixed-income origination and sales and trading side with plans to do both client as well as proprietary fixed-income business, added the source.

In the split with its former joint venture partner Morgan Stanley in 2007, JM Financial had relinquished institutional broking, equity sales, trading and research. It has been building out these businesses.

Bringing on board a team which has earlier worked together is a strategy which has been adopted recently by a number of investment banks. Generally, the bankers move within an operating framework similar to what they had earlier and enjoy a good working relationship which facilitates delivery of products and services to clients.

Neither JM Financial nor DSP Merrill Lynch had a comment on the move.

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