John Laws has transferred to Merrill Lynch in Australia where he will head Merrill LynchÆs business division offering its global debt and equities financing platform in Sydney and Melbourne.

In his new job he will report to Melvyn Ford, regional head of global markets financing and services based in Hong Kong, and to Dan Ritchie, Merrill LynchÆs Australian head of equities.

Australian-born Laws moves from New York where he previously worked as global head of funding and liquidity management. He will now run a 40-strong team which is already in place.

The business comprises of equity and fixed income prime brokerage, stock loan, margin lending, structured financing, financial futures and a third-party clearing operation within Berndale Securities.

As well as servicing hedge fund clients it will also cater to other institutional and retail customers.

Merrill Lynch says that it thinks now is a good time to continue to build this business in recognition of the growth of AustraliaÆs hedge fund community, which is now the largest in Asia Pacific, and because Australia now has the worldÆs fourth largest investment pool.