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Merrill Plans Tokyo FX Push

Merrill Lynch plans to bulk up its foreign exchange desk in Tokyo on the back of its global effort to become a more significant force in foreign exchange products, according to market officials. As part of the plan it is setting up a short-term interest-rate trading group and hiredEddie Takata, v.p. of interest rates at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, as a director on the desk, according to Takata. He is due to start in April. Takata declined to elaborate.

The new group will complement the FX team, for example reducing the costs of the interest-rate component on U.S. dollar forwards for domestic customers. The team will likely focus on the group of 10 currencies for regional clients as well as take proprietary positions, while separate desks will continue to handle Asian foreign exchange trading as well as interest-rate derivatives trading. Mark Narita, director of foreign exchange forwards trading at Merrill in Tokyo, will head the new group, according to market officials. It will hire two or three traders for the desk.

At Dresdner, Takata reported to Torsten Schlotzhauer, head of interest rate derivatives trading in Tokyo. Schlotzhauer and Narita declined comment.   

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