Senior debt banker Michael Luk leaves Merrill

Michael Luk, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's head of debt capital markets for Asia-Pacific, resigned from the firm on Tuesday.
Michael Luk
Michael Luk

Michael Luk, the head of debt capital markets for Asia-Pacific at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, resigned from the firm on Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Luk was a senior banker at the firm and headed its G3 debt business, which included bonds, syndicated loans and private placements, for Asia (including Japan) and Australia.

Luk had joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch from Deutsche Bank in May last year and had been with the firm for slightly more than a year. At Deutsche, he was the head of Asia fixed income capital markets and head of Asia leveraged debt capital markets.

It is understood that Luk’s two former Deutsche colleagues Jimmy Choi and Kang-Jae Kim — who had followed him to Merrill — are still at the firm. According to a source, Merrill will not be replacing Luk.

Luk is leaving Merrill at a time when its Asia-Pacific G3 debt business is in a position of relative strength. According to Dealogic, Bank of America is in sixth place year-to-date, behind four Japanese banks — Mizuho, Nomura, Daiwa and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial — and Morgan Stanley. It has moved up from seventh place last year and ninth place in 2009.

Meanwhile, market observers note that there could be changes in the way Merrill’s debt team is run, as Matthew Koder, a veteran banker who was previously at UBS, joined Merrill to head its corporate and investment banking business in Asia about a month ago. At UBS, Koder was reputed to be a rainmaker who aggressively drove the business forward.

On the equity capital markets side, the bank has hired James Fleming, who previously worked with Koder at UBS, as co-head of Asia equity capital markets alongside Jason Cox. Ex-UBS banker Ranobir Mukherji continues to head up Merrill’s Asia debt capital markets business (ex-Japan and Australia).

Merrill Lynch declined to comment for the story.

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