Former prime broker Melvyn Ford has moved to HSBC in Hong Kong as a managing director in the financial institutions group, global banking -- a newly created role.

He will run hedge-fund coverage in the Asia-Pacific region, reporting to Andrew Roberts, global head of hedge-fund coverage in London.

Ford will build on senior relationships with hedge funds, frequently ones HSBC already has by virtue of, for example, its custody and private-banking operations. He will try to steer hedge-fund business towards the bank, and his primary relationships will be at chief investment officer or partner level, rather than at, say, trader level.

As well as looking for potential trade ideas, Ford will be instrumental in organising meetings between HSBC top brass and regional hedge funds, when the former are in town.

The hire strengthens the Hong Kong hedge-fund coverage team, which was already in existence in Hong Kong and includes the services of Michelle Cowan, who remains in place and reports to Ford.

Ford used to work as head of prime broking for Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong before he left the US firm at the start of 2008.