Merrill bolsters derivatives business with major new hires

Hires signal big push in derivatives business at Merrill Lynch.
Merrill Lynch has rolled out a series of hires in its regional debt clients business, adding further substance to remarks made by Asia boss, Damian Chunilal (on this website) about the fast expansion of the firm. According to the US investment bankÆs Barry Dick and Joseph Gotuaco, co-heads of debt client group, Asia-Pacific, the new hires are part of an ongoing response to increases in Merrills regional cash and derivatives business.

Indira Citrarini crosses to Merrill as its new head of debt client business for Indonesia and will lead its client efforts across the government, financial institution and corporate sectors. She makes the transition for Credit Suisse in Singapore and brings over 15 years of debt markets experience in Indonesia to Merrill.

Internally, Jay Patel will shift titles and take on the role of head of the debt client business for the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. To this post, Patel will bring prior experience in building its Philippines franchise. In addition to his expanded position, he will also coordinate MerrillÆs derivative marketing efforts in Southeast Asia.

Reporting to Patel will be Julian Candiah, who heads over to Merrill from BNP Paribas Singapore. Candiah assumes the role of a director and will head its debt client business for Malaysia and Thailand. At BNP, he worked for six years in marketing structured and debt capital markets products in Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, the firm will also expand the role of Wai Fung Seethor. She becomes the head of MerrillÆs debt client business for Singapore as a director. In the amplified role, Seethor will also assume responsibility for driving strategy for debt products across the government, financial institution and corporate sectors.

Kenneth Pereira will also join the Merrill family as its new head of debt client business for Australia and New Zealand. He arrives at Merrill from ABN AMRO Sydney and to his new employers brings 19 years of regional derivatives structuring and origination experience.

Pereira will lead a team including Duncan Robertson, who joins from ABN as a director and Giorgio Pilla, who crosses from Dresdner Bank Singapore as a director. Upon arrival at Merrill. Robertson will leverage off 13 years of experience in derivatives trading, structuring and marketing experience for both corporates and financials in Australia. Pilla will also bring 15 years of relevant experience in marketing structured products, including CDOs, to Merrill.

All the new hires will work closely with the firm's Asia-Pacific solutions group, which is led by Mitch Matharu. This Merrill division will also be boosted by the arrival of Carl Im, who comes on board in the newly created role as head of the Pacific-Rim strategic solutions group. He moves over from Goldman Sachs where he was most recently head of corporate sales and of financing group strategies for Asia.

Chunilal has said that Merrill's headcount has been up 10% in each of the past two years but that the growth in the headcount "is a fraction of our revenue growth".

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