Merrill Lynch has hired Jeffery Levy as director of prime broking sales. He will be based in Singapore and replaces Harvey Twomey who has joined Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong.

Levy used to work for Sydney-based hedge fund FreeSpirit Group and before that, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse as an equity salesman. He was CEO of FreeSpirit and chaired the investment committee. He was in charge of the middle office systems and managed the position risks across the portfolios.

An Asian hedge fund manager recently told AsianInvestor that he preferred talking shop with a prime broker who had once gotten his hands dirty in a hedge fund, rather than a corporate lifer who has a theoretician's grasp of backoffice problems.

This particular Aussie hedge fund manager, FreeSpirit, operated three long/short Asian funds with assets under management of approximately $150 million. Although the funds were listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, the partners felt ultimately that they hadnÆt achieved critical mass and so took the decision in 2007 to return funds to investors.

In his new role he will report to Eddie Guillemette, the co-head of global markets financing and services for the Asia-Pacific region.