Bank of America-Merrill Lynch is getting bullish about hiring in Asia.
Jayanti Bajpai, co-head of global corporate and investment banking for the firm in Asia-Pacific, recently told the Financial Times that the bank had turned a corner and was looking forward to expanding its regional operations, while adding that sentiment among clients and potential recruits was becoming increasingly positive.
Merrill has hired over 100 new employees in the region over the past few months, including in Japan.
Although unable to give eFinancialCareers a detailed breakdown of the firm’s recent recruitment, a firm spokesman says there has been a substantial number of recent hires in Japan in debt and equity sales and trading, research, investment banking, and key support roles.
“We view Japan as a country with solid growth potential going forward and are therefore considering further selective additions,” he adds.
Good news, but does it point to a wider revival in Japanese investment banking being just around the corner?
With many firms having drastically cut their investment banking teams over the past year, Kevin Naylor, team manager of the financial services division at Wall Street Associates, says there may now be a need to strengthen again in anticipation of increases in M&A activity later this year and early next.
“Many clients and candidates tell us that there is an abundance of targets out there as long as financing can be had, especially on the debt side, to execute the deals,” he says.
Yet Naylor says we shouldn’t expect to be seeing green shoots for a while yet.
“Most hiring will just be correcting for over-reactions in the first place and many firms may choose to target other areas in the region for the first investments of the recovery. I am cautiously optimistic at this point but see a gradual return to normalcy rather than another bubble,” he says.