Merrill makes Vietnam investment banking hire

Khoi Phu Pham joins from Standard Chartered Bank to lead the US investment bank's Vietnam business.
Merrill Lynch has hired Khoi Phu Pham from Standard Chartered Bank to head up its business efforts in Vietnam, the bank says in an internal announcement which refers to this country as a new frontier for the capital markets.

Khoi will assume the position of director in investment banking, reporting to the bankÆs head of origination for Asia, Sheldon Trainor. Despite his focus on Vietnam, he will be based in Singapore.

Before joining Merrill, Khoi spent five years at Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, most recently as a head of Asia credit trading as well as head of fixed income for Vietnam. He has previously worked within the fixed-income trading department at Barclays Capital Asia in both Hong Kong and London. He began his career at Vietnam Airlines in 1989 which brought him to Hong Kong, Taipei, Osaka, Tokyo, Berlin and Hanoi. Between 1994 and 1997 he was the airlineÆs general manager for Southeast Asia.

The hire comes as Merrill is trying to build its investment banking franchise in Vietnam. The US firm was the first international investment bank to start regular research coverage on Vietnam and has had a Vietnam securities trading code registration since August 2006 that allows it to trade domestic bonds and equities in the local markets. However, it has been lagging behind other banks such as Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan in terms of winning advisory business related to the governmentÆs sell-downs of state-owned enterprises or mandates within the debt and equity capital markets.

A rival bank has forecast that VietnamÆs market capitalisation will more than double by 2010 from about $8 billion in 2006.
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