Joe Cavatoni has resigned from Merrill Lynch as head of prime brokerage for Asia-Pacific. Circumstances behind his departure are unclear, and it is unknown whether he will remain in the region.

There are no indications so far of Cavatoni's taking up a position with another firm in Asia. Sources say that Merrill has not yet decided on a replacement for Cavatoni although the firm is interviewing on a global basis.

The head office of Merrill Lynch's prime brokerage operation in London could not be reached for any comment. The Japanese office is said to be running for now under Alastair Sclater, who declined to comment.

Cavatoni joined the firm in 1995. Initially based in Hong Kong, where he was vice president / credit officer, Cavatoni transferred to Merrill's Tokyo office in April 2000. There he took up the position of vice president of the global equity finance group, putting him in charge of Merrill's prime brokerage operations throughout Asia, including Australia. Cavatoni's tenure at the top oversaw Merrill's expansion of its prime brokerage operations in Australia to a full service region-wide.