Merrill Lynch latest to build Aus prime brokerage

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Merrill Lynch is building up its new Australian prime brokerage businesses, and has drafted in a honcho from New York to make it happen.

Finance Asia says John Laws will run a 40-strong team as the head of Merrill's business division offering its global debt and equities financing platform in Sydney and Melbourne.

The business has an equity and fixed income prime brokerage, stock loan, margin lending, structured financing, financial futures and a third-party clearing operation within Berndale Securities, and will service hedge fund clients as well as other institutional and retail customers.

Australia's hedge fund community is now the largest in the Asia-Pacific - and growing. Australia has the world's fourth largest investment pool, and in light of this Merrill believes the time is right to build its Australian businesses, Finance Asia says.

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