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Is Asia’s banking sector showing more signs of recovery?

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Major players in the finance sector are making more senior appointments – a sign the industry is making a slow but steady comeback.

Financial institutions such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have all recently announced big name hires, signally opportunities in the sector.

Last week, BofA Merrill Lynch announced the appointment of Ashish Malhotra to head of Asia Pacific debt capital markets, while Morgan Stanley announced Dieter Turowski and Shane Zhang as the company’s co-heads of Asian investment banking.  

Aside from these senior appointments, financial institutions are also restructuring their operations to adapt to changes. IFR Asia reported JP Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch, either are in the process of or have merged separate investment and corporate banking divisions.

Banks are also streamlining and re-evaluating their core businesses where possible in a bid to cut costs and remain afloat.

Additionally, finance professionals are realising the need to be flexible, including those in senior positions who are taking on additional responsibilities or combined roles.

“Perhaps a banker will say, ‘I’m being forced to do a role that I don’t want to do,’ but they are also practical and say they’re glad to have something,” Sharmini Thomas, regional director for Michael Page in Hong Kong, said.

“The reason heads of investment banking units are willing to look at offers is that they’re now under such scrutiny and have had to take on more responsibilities as banks try to do more with less. If something is more compelling, they will look at it,” Thomas said.

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