As the global banks jostle for position in the Asian electronic trading business, Morgan Stanley is making a strong bid to cement its foothold in the region.

The newest addition is Takayuki Saito, who starts today as head of electronic trading in Japan. He will report functionally to Zach Tuckwell, Hong Kong-based head of pan-Asian electronic trading, and locally to Steve O'Shea, head of client trading in Japan.

Saito was previously head of UBS's pan-Asian direct-execution business, a role he held since 2001. Prior to UBS, he worked at Credit Suisse and Bloomberg before that. UBS says it has not named a replacement as yet, but declined to comment further.

He will drive the expansion of electronic trading services for Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities, the entity that is part of the joint venture between Morgan Stanley and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan's largest financial institution.

The Japanese e-trading market is widely expected to see strong growth in volumes following the July 29 launch of alternative trading platform Chi-X, which as a lit venue will compete directly with the Tokyo Stock Exchange. As it happens, Morgan Stanley was the first to trade on Chi-X Japan.

Morgan Stanley’s hiring of senior executives such as Tuckwell and Steve Davis -- who moved from Credit Suisse earlier this year to run the Australia business -- has signalled its plan to mount a strong challenge in the space. The firm also rolled out its customisable trading algorithm to Asia in June.

Other banks are also ramping up in this space, including Barclays Capital, Citi and Nomura, alongside agency brokers, such as ITG and Liquidnet, that are seeking to build volumes.