As a reflection of its commitment to Asian credit markets, JP Morgan has appointed its first Hong Kong based debt syndicate head.

Marc Lewell, formerly deputy emerging markets syndicate head at Chase in London, will be re-locating to Asia at the beginning of the year to fill the role. However, while the creation of an Asian syndicate role falls naturally within the on-going merger between Chase, Jardine Fleming and JP Morgan, it also reflects the growing significance of Asia's fixed income investor base.

Although international debt issuance from the region this year has been extremely poor, Asian investors have become a growing force in global debt issuance. Where three years ago, an international bond issue might see 5% to 15% participation by Asian investors, the figure has now jumped to about 15% to 35%.

Lewell will work alongside Jonathan Brown, JP Morgan's former emerging markets syndicate head in London who will continue to have an overseeing role. Brown has scooped the key European slot over Lewell's former boss Paul Charman and will now cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the US, Bill Parry will run the desk for Latin American credits.