Hong Kong: Wall Street firm Merrill Lynch is launching a new Asian team to focus on providing investment advice and investment banking services to the region’s growing ranks of rich entrepreneurs.
Merrill’s private investment banking group (PIBG) will serve clients worth more than $30 million (Rs122 crore) — also known as ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals — and be run by Damian Chunilal, who will also continue as head of Pacific Rim investment banking.
Bonnie Haddon-Cave will be chief operating officer of PIBG, while Joseph Lam and Vincent Shen will be private investment bankers.
Merrill is tapping a team of 11 senior investment bankers, including recently hired China specialist Margaret Ren and Indonesia investment banking head Roger Suyama, to work closely with Lam and Shen’s teams.
The UHNW investment banking team, which has representatives in markets including Thailand, India and South Korea, will be led by Sheldon Trainor, head of Asian investment banking.
In a region where many of the largest companies are run by individuals or families, Merrill is trying to serve both the companies of entrepreneurs and the wealthy business people themselves.
Investment bankers like Ren and Suyama are in constant contact with these tycoons, and the more formal arrangement will let them expand their discussions to helping executives manage their personal wealth.
“Pacific Rim is enjoying rapid private sector wealth creation,” Jason Brand, Merrill’s president of Pacific Rim, said in an internal announcement on Monday.
“The region is also unique in that many of its corporations are owned and/or controlled by ultra high net worth individuals creating an opportunity for significant synergies across Merrill Lynch & Co. in the region,” he said.
Brand was named Pacific Rim president in December, when it was announced that Merrill’s global private client and global markets and investment banking units would report to him, marking the first time they have had the same regional boss.