Merrill appoints Koh

The US investment bank strengthens its South East Asian coverage with the appointment of Laura Koh.

The appointment of Koh marks a significant move for Merrill Lynch, which has never previously had a DCM coverage person based in Singapore. Koh is also a well-known face in local DCM circles and until recently had spent virtually her entire career at CSFB.

She first joined the bank in 1992 as an associate before becoming a vice president in 1994 and director in 1997. At Merrill Lynch she will rank as a director and report to Anthony Hung, who was recently promoted as head of the investor and issuer client group. She will also get a much broader role expanding her previous coverage of Singapore and Malaysia to a wider South East Asian beat, which will be split with Hong Kong-based Augusto King.

Merrill is in the process of re-structuring its fixed income division following the departure of Rick Stoddard back to New York. Stoddard ran the issuer client group (debt origination), while Hung ran the investor group (cash and derivative sales and trading). In the last few weeks, the bank has made a number of new hires including Raymond (Zhigang) Wu and Leenor Lee on the investor side and Wei Wang on the issuer side.

Wu has joined Merrill from Bear Stearns in Singapore where he spent two years, most recently as managing director in fixed income sales covering Chinese institutional clients. Prior to that, he spent over nine years at the Bank of China, working in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York.

Lee, meanwhile, was most recently employed by JPMorgan, where she also spent over nine years on the Hong Kong fixed income sales desk and most recently as head of Hong Kong credit sales.

Finally, Wang joins Merrill from CITIC Industrial Bank in Beijing where she worked for 10 years. Her final post was to serve as both deputy general manager of financial markets and general manager of investment banking.

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