One of Morgan Stanley's bluest-blooded bankers has joined HSBC where he will hope to transform its European corporate finance and ECM franchise. John Studzinski, the former deputy chairman and head of European M&A at Morgan Stanley, joins HSBC as co-head of corporate, investment banking and markets.

He joins old Asia hand, Stuart Gulliver as co-head. Gulliver says the two have a perfect complementarity: "John has 20 years in Europe in corporate finance at a bulge bracket firm. Whereas I have spent 20 years in Asia on the debt and trading side within HSBC. So there is basically no overlap in our experiences. There is also a natural split in our day-to-day responsibilities."

Both men are charged with transforming HSBC's investment banking business. Gulliver recently moved to London from Hong Kong, taking with him Mike Powell, as well as Mark Bucknall (via a very short stint in the US). Gulliver hopes to replicate the success of the Asian markets business in London and is targeting a 50% profit growth in the European business within three years.

Meanwhile, Studzinski, whose rolodex reads like a who's who of European corporate nobility, will initially try to build HSBC's European corporate finance franchise, and is likely to be in hiring mode as he tries to upgrade the HSBC team. Known by the nickname, 'Studs', he is an American who has made his career in Europe and has become well known both for the way he built Morgan Stanley's European franchise and for his charitable work.

Neither of the global co-heads can afford to ignore Asia, however. Under Gulliver, Asia was the workhorse of the global markets operation's profitability. Meanwhile, though Studzinski's first priority may be to put in place a corporate finance team in Europe, he will no doubt look to Asia next. He will know HSBC enjoys long and loyal corporate relationships throughout the region but has never punched according to its fighting weight in the corporate finance arena. As a highly regarded corporate financier it can be assumed he will seek to rectify this failing.

"Hiring John is a statement of HSBC's commitment to the corporate finance business," confirms Gullliver. The hire came about largely through Studzinski's close relationship with John Bond, the HSBC chairman. Conversations then began in earnest at the beginning of 2003.

Both see it as an ideal partnership. Studzinski and Gulliver will keep offices respectively on the corporate finance floor and the trading floor, but both men will also have desks opposite each other on the 41st floor of HSBC's HQ in London, the floor where senior management sit.