Macquarie continues to ramp up its Asian operations with the appointment of Marshall Nicholson as a new MD in ECM and Matei Mihalca as an MD in the TMT team.

Both men will focus on Greater China as the bank seeks to balance its strong South East Asian platform with a greater share of the more lucrative North Asian market. Since it purchased ING's equities business in July 2004, Macquarie has built a strong niche across Asia in areas where the Australian bank has always been strong in its home market - property, resources, infrastructure and funds.

During the first quarter of 2005, it surprised most of its rivals by jumping straight into the top five rankings for straight equity thanks to a couple of deals in the Philippines, including a $532 million IPO for SM Investment Corp - the largest IPO of the quarter.

Nicholson joins Macquarie after a six-month sabbatical from the markets. He was previously head of Asian ECM at Credit Suisse First Boston and had been keen to stay in the region.

Prior to CSFB, he had been head of convertible bond origination at JPMorgan in New York.  He will now report to Andrew Low, head of Asian corporate finance and work alongside Philippe Espinasse who becomes head of South East Asian ECM.

Macquarie currently has a 13 strong Asian ECM team, which is relatively large for the region. However, Nicholson is likely to play a far stronger origination role at his new firm than he has previously.

As such he will work closely with Dr Ching-mai Wu, who runs the bank's Taiwanese operations and Fong Chi in China. If the rumours prove correct, he may also soon be joined by former Citigroup banker Margaret Ren. The two last worked together on the IPO for China Life.

Macquarie has also gained the talents of Matei Mihalca in its TMT team. Mihalca joins from UBS, where he was a director in the Swiss bank's TMT Team. Prior to this, he was at Citic Capital and Merrill Lynch.