Merrill Lynch plans $1 bn expansion

New Delhi, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 06:20am hrs
Merrill Lynch, the $8.6-billion global investment management major, will invest $1 billion in India over the next two years in areas that include marketing of financial products and a massive expansion in workforce.

Government sources told FE that Merrill Lynch VC and chief administrative officer Ahmass Fakahany was recently in Delhi to meet finance, and commerce & industry ministry officials.

Merrill Lynch, with total assets of $1.6 trillion, plans to hire more investment bankers, debt and equity market specialists and research analysts for offices across the country, the sources said.

Besides setting up additional private banking centres, it also plans to invest in areas like insurance, brokerage, investment banking, asset management as well as strategic advisory services like mergers & acquisitions, they added.

The Merrill Lynch investment plan was to keep pace with rivals like Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse.

India Investment

Merrill Lynch vice-chairman & chief administrative officer Ahmass Fakahany recently met finance, and commerce ministry officials
Firm plans to hire investment
bankers, debt and equity market specialists and research analysts

Merrill Lynch had agreed to fork out $500 million to Hemendra Kothari in December 2005 to hike its stake in DSP Financial Consultants from 40% to 90%. DSP Merrill Lynch has offices in the four metros and Bangalore. It also has a 14.1% stake in India Infoline, a listed financial services company.

Bloomberg 2006 India Capital Markets League Tables rated DSP Merrill Lynch the top underwriter for initial public offers in calendar 2006. It clinched the spot with a marketshare of 17.4%. That slice accrued from eight deals, including Cairn Indias $1.3-billion IPO, WNS Holdings $255.3 million and GMR Infrastructures $172.5 million public offer.

Merrill Lynch is also understood to be closely watching developments regarding FDI policy. The government is likely to further relax FDI norms in asset reconstruction companies. Presently, FDI is capped at 49% in ARCs.