In as step toward building a debt capital markets (DCM) team capable of competing aggressively for one of the top spots atop the Asian debt league tables, JPMorgan has appointed Stephen Diao, from Barclays Capital, to head its debt origination group. At Barclays, Diao held the position of head of cross-border issuance for Asia-Pacific.

The move was finalised toward the end of April and Diao will join the American bank in August. At present, Diao is on leave in the US.

He joined Barclays during the height of the Asian Crisis as head of cross-border debt origination, following several years at Credit Suisse in a similar capacity. At Barclays, Diao quickly built a reputation as one of the regionÆs top sovereign and quasi-sovereign bankers, with benchmark deals for the Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China, the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Korea, Petronas, the Government of Malaysia, Kingdom of Thailand and MarchÆs Republic of Indonesia deal û a first for Barclays.

However it has been Korea, where Diao has become particularly synonymous, managing a market leading number of deals for top issuers such as the sovereign, the Korea Development Bank (KDB), The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco).

At JPMorgan, Diao will report to Sean Wallace, the bankÆs head of capital markets for Asia-Pacific. There he will be responsible for ensuring a steady pipeline from both frequent users of the international debt capital markets as well as financial institutions and the leveraged finance space. Indeed, while his mandate at BarclayÆs was primarily investment grade, sovereign and semi-sovereign, at JPMorgan he will be accountable for all levels of debt issuance û government, quasi, high grade corporate, high-yield and FIG - for the Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan/ex-Australia) region. He will collaborate closely with Mark Follet of JPMorganÆs FIG team and Eric Mason on the leveraged finance side.

"JPMorgan shall be able to compete for the top spot among the Asia capital market league tables,ö says Diao. ôThe firm has built a quality footprint throughout the region with top tier country and corporate industry investment bankers and they are tremendously adept at leveraging off of their sovereign, FIG and corporate relations.ö

Educated at Dartmouth College in the United States, Diao kicked off his career with Morgan Stanley in 1988. In 1991, he moved to Tokyo as head of Morgan StanleyÆs global fixed income syndicate desk for Asia-Pacific, before shifting to Hong Kong in 1993 to concentrate on debt origination.