Asia heads of equities and prime brokerage leave Merrill Lynch

Two top Merrill Lynch executives based in Hong Kong are leaving the bank. Melvyn Ford, head of Pacific Rim global markets financing and services (GMF&S), left in early January, while Nigel Beattie, co-head of Pacific Rim equities, will depart on January 31.

It is not known what Ford’s next move will be, nor would the bank reveal the reason for his departure. He joined Merrill Lynch in October 2003 and before that was head of Deutsche Bank’s Asian equity finance team.

Beattie, who has worked for Merrill Lynch for 13 years, is relocating to London for personal reasons. He told Asia Risk that this move had been planned for a year. Tokyo-based Yasuhiro Fujiwara, previously co-head of Pacific Rim equities with Beattie, has taken sole charge of that business.

In a memo announcing Ford’s departure, Sylvan Chackman and Jeff Penney, New York-based co-heads of GMF&S, and Fujiwara said the Pacific Rim GMF&S businesses “remain a key strategic growth opportunity for us”.

Brian Canniffe and Eddie Guillemette – formerly director of securities lending and director of equity finance sales, respectively – will lead the business in the region. Guillemette will be responsible for all GMF&S sales, capital introduction and consulting services, while Canniffe will oversee trading and risk-related matters.

Based in Hong Kong, the duo will be responsible for further developing GMF&S products and platforms and for partnering with the regional leadership team to provide clients with financing solutions across the spectrum of asset classes, said the memo.

Merrill Lynch was one of the hardest hit in the turmoil following the US subprime problems, taking a $7.9 billion writedown in the third quarter of 2007, which led to the departure of chief executive Stan O’Neal, among others. Analysts expect further significant writedowns.

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