Merrill Lynch Comments on Business in Japan and China

Includes: MER, MTU
by: Steven Towns

In April, Merrill Lynch (MER) and Mitsubishi UFJ (NYSE:MTU) formed a 50:50 private banking joint-venture in Japan. According to a recent Reuters article and ML's Q3 earnings conference call, the JV appears to be growing at a satisfactory pace with a lot of future potential.

Excerpt on Japan from Merrill Lynch's Q3 earnings conference call Q&A session:

Meredith Whitney - CIBC World Markets

[...] The next question, you guys had said that your global opportunities are strong. I wanted to get an update on your Japan private client business.

Jeff Edwards - Chief Financial Officer

I think we have got good momentum there. The first observation is that at this point we have had, I think almost 1,000 new accounts opened. It has generated something like $400 million in net new money at this point. Our pipeline of new opportunities remains very strong there. So I think that business is off to a great start in its first full quarter.

Excerpt on China from Q&A session:

Mike Mayo - Prudential Equity Group

Can you comment on China? China has been called a frenzy for the paper today and you are certainly involved there. What is happening there?

Jeff Edwards - Chief Financial Officer

Yes, I think China has been a very important market for us for quite some time. Certainly from an investment banking standpoint, there have been a number of important transactions and there continue to be important opportunities for us there as well.

Growth in China, I think, will come from both our ability to expand on the global market side, further growth in investment banking and private client as well. So, I certainly would not want to comment on any pending transactions. I think I will leave it there.

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