JPMorgan's co-heads of Asian institutional equities, David Hancock and Nick Andrews, announced changes to the firm's regional equities division in an internal memo yesterday (Monday). According to the memo, the changes are designed "to improve the structure of the equities business in Asia and create new business lines to meet client demands."

Overarching the whole process is a desire to bring the ex-Japan Asia and Australia/New Zealand equities businesses closer together. New initiatives in the area of programme trading and client management are also announced. ""Our realignment reflects the needs of our clients, both hedge funds and traditional institutions, who want to see information flowing around the regional seamlessly. By integrating Australia with the rest of Asia ex-Japan, we can drive better collaboration and innovation on products", says David Hancock, co-head of institutional equities, Asia Pacific.

Firstly the bank has named Mark Bamber and Randolf Clinton to be co-heads of research sales and sales trading for Asia Pacific ex Japan (including Australia). Clinton was previously co-head of equities in Australia, while Bamber ran the region wide equities team.

In the new order Bamber will look after cash trading business and will oversee new proprietary cash trading initiatives. He will also set up a cash hedge funds sales team which will have a region wide beat, including Japan.

Clinton will take main responsibility for sales management. As part of the remit, he will set up a new client relationship management initiative with Duncan Ross, who will, continue to look after corporate and investor access, conferences and client relationship management in Japan.

Clinton's previous co-head of Australian equities was David Ferrall who will set up a new electronic and automated trading initiative, which will look at programme trading, connectivity and direct market access across all of Asia, including Japan and Australia.

"The number of clients using and the fund flows from programme trading, connectivity and direct market access are increasing continuously," says Nick Andrews, co-head of institutional equities, Asia Pacific. "It is important for this initiative to be coordinated both regionally and globally," .

The moves come as investment banks find an increasing amount of their broking revenue coming from hedge funds and active managers. The funds typically trade more than the traditional long only managers. But in return for the increased brokerage they hand out they demand a lot of servicing, both in terms of back office connectivity and in the generation of ideas.

They also tend to see Asia on a wider basis, eschewing the traditional distinctions between Japan, Asia and Australasia