Deutsche Bank has hired Ajay Kapur and two colleagues from Mirae Asset Securities to form a dedicated Asian equity strategy team, the German bank said in a release yesterday. Kapur, who is well-known in the region, has assumed the role of managing director and head of Asian equity strategy, while Priscilla Luk and Ritesh Samadhiya have been appointed director and vice president of Asian equity strategy respectively.

The trio has worked together for a long time, first at Citi, then at Hong Kong-based hedge fund First Horse Capital, which was set up by Kapur and other former Citi bankers in 2007, and also at Mirae Asset Securities, which they joined in July 2008. Kapur was chief global and Asia strategist at Mirae Asset Securities, the investment banking, brokerage and wealth management consulting arm of Korea’s Mirae Asset Financial Group, Luk covered global and Asian equity strategy and Samadhiya was an Asian equity strategist.

Nobody at Mirae Asset Securities was available yesterday to comment on whether the firm plans to replace the three strategists.

At Deutsche, Kapur will be responsible for building the bank’s equity strategy capabilities in Asia, filling a vacancy that was left when Colin Bradbury left the firm more than 12 months ago. Since then, Deutsche hasn’t had a dedicated equity strategist focusing on Asia, although Brad Jones, who is the firm’s Asian investment strategist with a focus across all asset classes, has covered the space to some extent during this time.

However, Deutsche has put a lot of resources into its equity research division in Asia ex-Japan recently and over the past 12 months the headcount has increased by 35%, according to a bank spokesman. Including Kapur, Luk and Samadhiya, the hires include six managing directors, eight directors and eight vice presidents.

Kapur will be based in Hong Kong and will report to Guy Ashton, the bank’s global head of company research, who is also based in Hong Kong. Luk and Samadhiya will both report to Kapur.

“Ajay is one of the best known and most respected names in the industry, having worked in equity research and strategy on both the buy- and sell-sides since 1989. Along with Priscilla and Ritesh, (he) is ideally suited to build the region’s leading equity strategy franchise,” Ashton said in a written statement.

Indeed, Kapur has plenty of experience of running a similar business, having been head of Asia-Pacific regional strategy at Salomon Smith Barney (when SSB was taken over by Citi his title changed to chief Asia equity strategist) between 2002 and 2004 and then chief global equity strategist at Citi in New York from 2004 to early 2007 when he left to set up his own hedge fund. Prior to joining SSB, Kapur, who is a chartered financial analyst, was head of equity strategy at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. He has also worked as an Asian equity strategist at UBS Securities, chief economist at Peregrine Securities in Hong Kong and an economist at the WEFA Group in the US.

Kapur is also known for having coined the term “plutonomy” to describe an economy with substantial income and wealth inequality that is driven largely by the wealthy part of the population. The now widely-used term became the subject of a cover story in Barrons magazine and has been referenced by film maker Michael Moore.

Luk began her career as a quantitative equity analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston and has a major in quantitative finance from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She then worked both as a global equity strategist and an Asian equity strategist at Citi and an equity strategist at First Horse Capital before joining Mirae.

Samadhiya, who is also a chartered financial analyst and has a Masters of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, worked as an equity strategist at First Horse Capital and prior to that was part of Citi’s global equity strategy team.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Securities Inc, the firm’s business in Japan, announced yesterday that it has hired top-ranked analyst Masao Muraki as a director and senior analyst for the insurance and securities sector as it continues to strengthen its research coverage and its equity brokerage business overall. Muraki has spent his entire financial career with the Daiwa group, having joined Daiwa Institute of Research as a junior analyst in 1999. In 2005 he moved across to Daiwa Securities Capital Markets (formerly known as Daiwa Securities SMBC) where he was most recently a senior insurance and securities analyst.