Morgan Stanley strengthens onshore India presence

The US investment bank starts trading as an RBI-approved primary dealer.

Morgan Stanley yesterday undertook its first transaction as a primary dealer in India after receiving its license over the weekend and announced that Manoj Kumar Swain will lead its primary dealership (PD) effort.

India's banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, granted the PD license to Morgan Stanley India Primary Dealer Private Limited (MSIPD) on Saturday. Broadly, primary dealers are allowed to underwrite primary issues of government securities, to provide broking services and to deal in government securities. Other foreign banks who are active primary dealers in India include J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank.

Morgan Stanley's fixed income division established an onshore presence in India through its non-banking finance company (NBFC), Morgan Stanley India Capital Private Limited, in July 2008. MSICPL is active in government bond trading, credit trading and lending to private wealth management clients.

"This new license, along with our established NBFC, provides us with a fully-integrated onshore fixed-income platform in India and enables us to offer a comprehensive suite of services and solutions to our local and global clients," Ranodeb (Ronnie) Roy, head of Morgan Stanley's interest rate, credit and currency division for Asia-Pacific, said in a written statement.

Manoj Kumar Swain, who is an executive director in the fixed-income team in Mumbai, has been appointed chief executive officer of MSIPD. Swain joined Morgan Stanley in July 2008 from Standard Chartered where he was a director and head of fixed-income trading. Swain has also worked with ICICI Bank.

Earlier this month Morgan Stanley announced it had strengthened its private wealth management division in India with the appointment of Sandeep Jain as a private wealth adviser in Mumbai. Jain joined Morgan Stanley from local investment bank Ambit Capital where he was a director and head of the private client croup. At Ambit, Jain led a team of over 20 private wealth advisers and managed client assets of $800 million.

Morgan Stanley has been building up its onshore wealth management capabilities in India. It recently also poached Prashant Shah and Vedukumar Prasanna from Kotak Securities, and Tarun Chadda from HSBC Investsmart.

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