Merrill Lynch has hired Melvyn Ford as head of Pacific Rim stock lending. He joins from Deutsche Bank and will be a director of the firm based in Hong Kong. Ford will report locally to Paul Masi, head of Asia Pacific Rim equity markets and to Ted Platt who heads Securities Lending based in London.

The appointment will be the first of many, according to sources close to Merrill, as the firm seeks to boost its stock lending and prime brokerage businesses. These are seen as naturally complimentary business to Merrill's large brokerage and deriviatives oeprations, which in turn are trying to get a bigger slice of the Asian hedge fund pie.

"Securities lending has always complimented our strength in equities," says Osman Semerci, Head of Pacific Rim Global Markets with overall responsibility for Asia Pacific and Japan equity and debt sales and trading activities. "It is one area [where] Merrill Lynch will continue to make strategic hires worldwide."