Further to our article yesterday that Munesh Khanna is joining DSP Merrill Lynch as head of investment banking the firm also announced on July 31 the appointment of Patricia McLaughlin as vice chairman of India investment banking.

Damien Chunilal, president, global markets and investment banking, Pacific-Rim, Merrill Lynch drew attention to the fact that the move underscored the firmÆs commitment to India and that the new appointments would ôstrengthen our already impressive management team in India and enable us to better find relevant solutions for our clientsö. ChunilalÆs optimism was shared by DSP Merrill Lynch chairman Hemendra Kothari who commented: "We welcome PatriciaÆs promotion to vice chairman of investment banking and MuneshÆs arrival as important additions to the senior management team".

McLaughlin has worked with Merrill Lynch since 2001 and has two decades of experience covering Indian clients. She will work closely with Amit Chandra, head of India global markets and investment banking, to drive the expansion of the overall franchise in India. Chandra was also upbeat saying ôthe combination of Patricia and Munesh will help significantly to further our leading investment banking franchise in the country".

With various investment banks in India beefing up operations, the competition for mandates and revenues from advisory businesses is expected to intensify going forward. Traditionally, India has not yielded investment banks the lucrative fee-paying mandates of other Asian markets, particularly China. Obviously this time round all the key players are gambling that things will be different. Merrill seems to be laying the foundation for what it is hoping will be a bright future.