The Dutch pension asset manager's Asia Pacific head of real estate says his team has just had one of its busiest years ever and that 2021 is looking similarly promising.
Brian Canniffe and Eddie Guillemette have been named new co-heads of the business. The former will oversee trading and risk-related matters and the latter will be responsible for sales, capital introduction and consulting services in the region.
No reason has been given for Ford's departure but other prime brokers in the market speculate that Merrill Lynch might be ready to point its prime broking operation in a new direction. A Merrill Lynch spokesman says a re-framing of the business will not take place, but rather that having gone through a protracted building stage, it is now being positioned towards delivering an execution phase.
The other gossip is that his departure is a way of concentrating the bonus pool by reducing the numbers of those dipping into it û departing staff are paid out of a restructuring pot, not from the bonus pot. The Merrill Lynch spokesman says that if this were the case, then such an exodus would have involved more than one person.
Merrill Lynch built its staff numbers in prime broking through an extremely active hiring programme in 2006 and 2007. It now employs many well-regarded and experienced personnel in the Hong Kong prime broking world.
Ford's former colleagues are perhaps feeling a little uneasy though. More than one Hong Kong prime broker has told AsianInvestor that it has been in receipt of a number of resumes from Merrill Lynch prime broking staff during the last week.
Merrill LynchÆs prime broking business was praised by many hedge fund managers in 2007 as it tackled the difficult area of accommodating and margining illiquids, and helping hedge funds find introductions to exciting new deals.
As the credit crunch hit, Merrill Lynch had to deal with its well-documented subprime write-offs. Illiquids have without a doubt become more expensive and Merrill Lynch was very active in this field. However, the firm says it has not passed on any additional costs to clients and there hasnÆt been a fall in client balances.
Sunsuper and QSuper appoints CIO for combined entity; State Street appoints heads of HK and Taiwan; Nothern Trust rebuilds Apac team; Manulife IM names emerging markets fixed income CIO; RBC Wealth Management hires four into HK; Lombard Odier hires two senior equity managers; Allianz Global Investors appoints Asia hand as equity CIO; and more.
Investors from China and the US are expected to continue buying assets in each other’s markets despite the blacklist of Chinese firms with military and surveillance ties.
Stronger government actions are needed to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, investors such as Hesta and CDPQ signed in a statement.
AsianInvestor explains why we chose the winners of the second half of our 2021 fund manager winners, by major local markets.