Dow Jones International News (Copyright (c) 2002, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.) Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES 02/25/2002

Four Analysts Quit Merrill Lynch Australia To Join UBS

By Helen Ubels

SYDNEY -(Dow Jones)- Four members of Merrill Lynch & Co.'s (MER) equity research team in Australia have quit to join rival UBS Warburg (UBS), decimating the Merrill Lynch pool of 40-or so analysts.

UBS Warburg, a leading player in equity capital markets and the merger and acquisition market, Friday picked up the well regarded banking team of Jeff Emmanuel, Jonathan Mott and Chris Gray and let go of two of its most senior banking analysts, James Ellis and Grahame Maloney.

Emmanuel, and the Merrill Lynch banking team as a whole, are ranked third in the East Coles analyst survey and their defection will boost UBS Warburg's profile in that sector, the largest component of the Australian stock market.

"This is a coup for UBS and should propel them up the ranks," said East Coles director Nick Coles.

UBS Warburg also took on one of Merrill Lynch's senior property trust analysts, Simon Garing, who ranks sixth in the East Coles survey. The Garing appointment will "consolidate their dominance in that sector," said Coles.

It is understood the banking analysts put themselves on the market through a recruitment agency, timing their move for a few weeks after annual bonus payments. Emmanuel, who will be head of banking sector research at UBS Warburg, has a reputation for moving jobs. UBS Warburg will be his fifth employer in six years. Merrill Lynch said it is "well advanced" in its search for a new banking team. It is thought to be considering internal and external candidates.

In the last year, Merrill Lynch has reduced its Australasian operations, selling or closing divisions in New Zealand and Perth. It has laid off 70 staff in its private client business, which has narrowed its focus to high net worth individuals, and lost another 40-or-so employees in a recent voluntary redundancy program. Its total staff in Australia now numbers around 600.

The downsizing coincides with a broader retrenchment program at Merrill Lynch, that internationally has seen around 9,000 jobs go.

By Helen Ubels, Dow Jones Newswires;
Rebecca Thompson in Sydney contributed to this story.