Masakazu Yanagisawa has relocated to Tokyo from Merrill Lynch's London office having been handed a new role as head of prime brokerage sales for Japan.

Yanagisawa will carry the corporate title of vice president, and will develop Merrill Lynch's existing Pacific-Rim prime brokerage business covering fixed income and equity products for clients in the Japanese market and with Japan-focused hedge funds located worldwide.

From 2002 until now, he worked in London for Merrill's European equity sales product group, and prior to that he was working in Merrill Lynch in Japan, where he began his career over six years ago.

He will report to both Harvey Twomey, head of Pacific Rim prime brokerage sales, as well as to
Brian Caniffe, Japan head of global markets financing and services.

This is a newly created position, complementing sales resources in Sydney and Hong Kong. Merrill says it is going to combine it with capital introduction and add a local consulting resource in Japan in early 2007.

A Merrill spokesman says that the firm sees the Japanese market and the Japanese strategy mix as its greatest single growth opportunity in prime brokerage in the region.