Merrill Lynch hires DCM specialists from Credit Suisse

The firm also shows commitment to its investment banking efforts in Singapore and Malaysia with a new hire from Deutsche Bank.
The Asian debt capital marketÆs team at Merrill Lynch has been given a significant boost in the form of four new hires, which shows the firm is indeed serious about becoming a significant debt player in the region.

The move comes after Merrill hired Jon Pratt from Credit Suisse in September last year to head up its Asia DCM platform and it is no surprise that Pratt has gone back to the successful team at his old firm in his efforts to beef up MerrillÆs presence in the market.

According to a source close to the negotiations, Merrill has hired three DCM specialists from Credit Suisse, including Ping Tan who became co-head of non-Japan Asia DCM together with Mike Joo when Pratt left. Tan will join Merrill as a director of Southeast Asia origination.

Mike Joo left Credit Suisse to join his old boss at Merrill at the end of last year.

Patrick Liu, a vice president on the China origination team at Credit Suisse, will join Merrill in the same role as Tan, and Anny Kim will join as a VP and head of ratings advisory û the same position she had at Credit Suisse.

The firm has also hired Jesse Friedlander from the convertible bond trading desk at JPMorgan to become a VP for private placements and structured credit origination.

The new hires, which will come on board over the next two months or so, will be expected to help propel Merrill to a more prominent place in the Asian debt league tables, where it fell outside the top 10 last year. PrattÆs presence seems to be making a difference, however, to deem from the fact that Merrill was included as a joint bookrunner for Export-Import Bank of KoreaÆs Ç750 million 10-year bond that was completed earlier this month. According to Dealogic this was the first time in 10 years that the frequent Korean borrower has hired Merrill in a senior role.

Together with Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, Merrill also arranged the $2 billion dual-tranche bond offering for IndiaÆs ICICI Bank in January.

Separately, Merrill has hired Keith Magnus for a new position as head of Singapore and Malaysia investment banking, showing further commitment to this region. The new role will ensure a more integrated approach across all the businesses within investment banking, including equity and equity-linked, debt, financing and M&A, noted the source.

Magnus, who is only 33, joins from Deutsche Bank where he was head of country banking for Singapore, which essentially meant he was a coverage and origination banker for equity and M&A deals.

While young, Magnus is well connected and has worked on a number of significant deals since he joined Deutsche in 2004, including TemasekÆs investment into Bank of China. He has also worked with the Ports Authority of Singapore and on Suntec Reit and Prime Reit. According to people familiar with the bank, Magnus had recently been made an MD at Deutsche.

He will report directly to Sheldon Trainor, MerrillÆs Hong Kong-based head of Asian investment banking and origination and is expected to start work within the next two to three months.

Before joining Deutsche, Magnus worked for JPMorgan for more than five years and before that for the Ministry of Defense in Singapore.

To prove that the poaching doesnÆt only go one way this bonus season, a separate source notes that Deutsche has recently hired three people from Merrill who will work with Vinod Aachi, the bankÆs head of equity structuring and retail business in Asia.

The three are Sharon Lo, who will join as a director based in Singapore; Franky Wong, who will join as a VP based in Hong Kong; and Yee-Lin Lee, who comes on board as a VP in Singapore.

In early February Deutsche also hired Sanjay Sharma from DSP Merrill Lynch to become head of India ECM. Sharma had a similar position at DSP Merrill and had been with the investment bank in India for 14 years when he decided to jump ships.
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