Yvonne Wong, previously vice president with Morgan Stanley's Asian prime brokerage team, will soon join Merrill Lynch as director and head of capital introduction for the Pacific Rim region in Hong Kong. Wong had spent four years with Morgan Stanley where she was in charge of marketing and capital introduction for the firm's Asian hedge fund clients.

Prior to that she spent one year with Goldman Sachs' prime brokerage division. Wong's role is a newly created position at Merrill Lynch. "The firm has long regarded capital introduction as a vital part of its offering but has waited until our regional client base reached critical mass before bringing this essential function on stream," says Melvyn Ford, managing director and head of equity finance for the Pacific Rim.

"Yvonne brings with her dedicated relationships with investors and she has a wealth of experience in assisting Asian hedge funds raise assets."

Wong reports jointly to Melvyn Ford and Anita Nemes, director and head of capital introduction for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With Wong on board, Ford says that Merrill now has the senior management in place to offer a full service prime brokerage platform to the rapidly expanding Asian hedge fund market.

Her appointment follows the recent hire of Harvey Twomey in Hong Kong as head of Pacific Rim prime brokerage sales in Hong Kong and Brian Canniffe as director in the stock-lending swaps team based in Tokyo.

"Since I joined Merrill from Deutsche thirteen months ago, our Asian team has doubled in head count," says Ford. "With senior management now in place, we will continue to grow our prime brokerage team strategically, and will be looking to add junior level professionals to support our growing client base."