Laurence Bailey, head of investor services for Asia Pacific, will make a permanent shift to Sydney on 1 March to run JPMorgan's regional custody business from an Australian base.

The move marks a return to the city for Bailey who used to head the Australian operation before taking on the regional role. He moved to Hong Kong three years ago to "get a better feel for the mechanics of each Asian market", but is now returning to Aussie shores.

"I have been spending more than half of my time down in Sydney anyway," Bailey says. "That's why this move is clearly not a departure from Asia but a logical decision to base me where we have the most resources."

There are more than 500 JPMorgan custody staff in Australia compared to about 70 in the rest of the region. "Australia is the processing centre for a lot of our Asian business," he adds.

JPMorgan has three divisional heads reporting into the regional boss; Doug Wallingford in Japan, Graeme Arnott in Sydney; and Steven McCullough based in Hong Kong covering North Asia and now Southeast Asia following the departure of Guy Mason in Singapore late last year. McCullough also has responsibility for India.

Bailey says the bank has "got off to a cracking start" in 2003 with the announcement of several large mandate wins including Sunlife Burlah in India and master trust fund Intech in Sydney.