Deutsche has announced the hire of a new Hong Kong-based head of Asian M&A. Douglas Morton joins from JPMorgan where he was a managing director and had worked in M&A and industry coverage. Morton has over 18 years experience in corporate finance and had previously worked for Jardine Fleming and Robert Fleming - in both Asia and Latin America.

The announcement signals Deutsche's intent to grow a more meaningful M&A franchise. Morton's alma mater, JPMorgan has regularly been top three in Asian M&A in the past three years, and thus hiring a senior banker from this firm reflects a desire to upgrade its own team.

Indeed, while Deutsche has been strong in its global markets division, its M&A business has not been comparably active. According to Dealogic's announced Asian M&A league tables (to July 15), Deutsche didn't even make the cut of the top 10.

To be fair, the firm has tended to focus its energies on longer term advisory projects such as the PetroChina East-West gas pipeline and the Hynix restructuring. It did more recently work on the sale of Hong Kong's CSX to Dubai Port Authority ($1.35 billion) and Mittal Steel's acquisition of 37% of Hunan Valin Steel Tube for $314 million.

However, the hire of Morton marks one of the key human resource decisions since Jonathan Paul and Lee Zhang took over as co-heads of global banking in Asia. Rivals should not be surprised if Deutsche becomes a bit more aggressive in the M&A arena in the coming months.