Merrill Lynch has poached Goldman Sachs' US and Japanese bank analyst Andrew Seiz to be its new head of Pacific Rim credit research. He will be an MD and report to Chris Francis, head of international credit research. Francis himself used to run Asian credit research before moving back to London.

Seitz's experience of covering Japanese banks will remain crucial to his new position as Merrill runs its credit research on an Asia including Japan basis.

"Andrew is very well known and respected by the global investor community," says Francis. "His move back to the region comes at a time of enormous opportunity across the credit landscape in Japan as well as healthy activity in bank capital, high yield and structured credit products in non-Japan Asia."

Seiz was last in Asia in 2000, when he was covering Asian banks with Goldman Sachs. He moved back to New York with Goldman in 2000 where he has been for the last four years.

Indeed, Japanese banks are one of the few great opportunities left for investors in global credit markets. According to Francis, all the world's eyes are fixed on the improving credit of Japanese banks and given that many banks need to raise new capital, there are great opportunities for investors to play the spreads.

Seiz will assume his new position in the middle of March.