Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch is hiring six people in Japan to bolster its equity sales and trading operations in the world’s best-performing major stock market.
Stephen O’Shea, 47, was recruited from Morgan Stanley to head sales, sales trading and execution services for Japan equity products, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The U.S. bank is also hiring five salespeople and sales traders, another memo shows.
Bank of America joins Japan’s biggest banks in bolstering equity operations to compete with Nomura Holdings Inc. and Daiwa Securities Group Inc. on the back of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to stimulate the world’s third-largest economy. Average monthly trading volume of Topix Index stocks almost doubled to 78 billion shares since the end of December from about 41 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
O’Shea will start work in Tokyo on July 1, according to the first document, which was distributed on June 18. Geoffrey Bowman joined as a salesman from Mizuho Securities Co. in June, the other memo sent on June 20 shows. Davor Jakelic will begin in August as the head of hedge fund coverage from Morgan Stanley, and Gavin Connor will join from Morgan Stanley as a sales trader in August, according to the document.
The U.S. bank also hired Hiroaki Nagata from Nomura as a sales trader starting in August and Masakatsu Kondo from Citigroup Inc. as a salesman from July. Tsukasa Noda, a Tokyo-based spokesman at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., confirmed the contents of the two memos.
The volume of shares traded through Bank of America at the Tokyo Stock Exchange more than quadrupled in May from October, according to data compiled by Merrill Lynch.
Even after retreating since May, the Topix has climbed 25 percent this year as Abe pledged fiscal stimulus and the Bank of Japan unveiled unprecedented monetary easing to end deflation. By comparison, the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index has risen 11 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index is up 1.4 percent.
Bank of America plans to hold a Japan equity conference from Sept. 17 to Sept. 20 at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, according to an invitation sent to clients. Sony Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai and Panasonic Corp. President Kazuhiro Tsuga will speak at the event, called “Japan Rising,” the invitation shows.
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