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BBH Opens HK Desk, Makes Series of FX Hires

Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) has opened a foreign exchange desk in Hong Kong to provide 24 hour access to FX trading in conjunction with New York, London and Tokyo locations.

BBH says the new desk will provide Asia-based clients with execution services, seamless coverage and global currency research. It will be headed by Chris Gothard and Thomas Haimelin.

The move highlights the increasing importance of Asian markets to international banks and follows the recent rise in Chinese renminbi (CNH) trading in Hong Kong following China’s liberation of the currency there.

“This is an exciting time for foreign exchange in Asia. Over the last three years BBH has seen a compound annual growth rate of 38% in customer volume in the region with 2010 showing a record 68% growth in FX volume,” says Andrew Tucker, partner responsible for Asia and BBH’s global FX product. “We felt the time was right to establish a new FX desk in Hong Kong to better service our growing local client base.”

To support the growth in business, BBH’s foreign exchange group has made a series of hires in Asia and Europe including the appointment of Noriyuki Kato as head of FX for Asia.

Kato has joned the relationship management and sales team in Tokyo and reports to Henry Wilkes, global head of FX relationship management and sales. Kato has 25 years’ experience in the markets and was previously head of institutional sales at DIAM Asset Management and head of foreign exchange sales and treasury operations at State Street Bank & Trust in Tokyo.

Mashashi Murata has joined the global currency strategy team, also in Tokyo, to provide regional and emerging market coverage. Murata was previously chief economist at GCI Capital and economist at Mitsubishi UFJ. He also regularly appears on CNBC providing market commentary.

In London, Ilan Solot has joined the global currency strategy team to provide regional and emerging market analysis. Solot previously spent three years on the FX trading desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before joining the EM strategy team at Medley Global Advisor. Murata and Solot report to Win Thin, global head of emerging markets currency strategy, who joined the firm in June 2007.

Also in London, Lena Komileva has been appointed global head of G10 research, reporting to Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy. Komileva previously held the position of head of G7 market research at Tullett Prebon and her commentary regularly appears on CNBC and Bloomberg.

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