In a further indication that banks are ramping up their electronic trading capabilities in the region, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hired Gabriel Butler as head of Asia-Pacific electronic trading sales in Hong Kong.

In his newly created role, Butler reports to Mark Wheatley, Tokyo-based head of Asia-Pacific electronic trading, and Andy Maynard, head of Asia-Pacific equity flow sales in Hong Kong.

Butler previously spent seven years at agency brokerage and technology provider ITG in Boston and Hong Kong, most recently as Asia-Pacific director of sales and trading.

Following his departure in September, Ofir Gefen became Hong Kong-based Asia-Pacific head of sales, and Michael Corcoran was named Asia-Pacific head of trading based in Sydney. Gefen was previously regional head of product management in Hong Kong, while Corcoran was director of sales and trading for Australia.

Butler is now responsible for covering BoA Merrill's institutional clients that trade Asian stocks electronically and for penetrating the US investor base that trade at night into Asia.

The bank says the appointment is part of its strategy of combining electronic trading of all products on one platform and that Butler will play a leading role in this initiative.

A spokesman declined to comment on any further plans for hires and expansion in electronic trading, apart from to say that it would be a key area for next year.

Another bank to have made senior regional e-trading hires in recent weeks is Morgan Stanley, with the poaching of Zach Tuckwell from Deutsche Bank and of Steve Davis from Credit Suisse. Meanwhile, equity brokerage CLSA recently snared Tom Daniel from Macquarie.