UPDATE 2-BofA adds property unit to Asia-Pacific hiring spree
* BofA poaches property team from Bell Potter -source
* "Most interesting growth region in the world" - BofA Pres.
* More than 20 major hires in APAC since late last year
* Hiring in Australia, Hong Kong, China (Adds BofA quote, more names, background, details)
By Michael Flaherty and Lee Chyen Yee
HONG KONG, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Bank of America (BAC.N: Cotización) has embarked on a major hiring spree across Asia, aiming to expand in the fast growing region and revive the investment banking franchise that Merrill Lynch built before the financial crisis.
The push is a surprise to rivals who thought the bank would focus more on rebuilding its U.S. business and a welcome sign for Merrill veterans in Asia who worried their new owner would fail to spend time or money to revive the Asia Pacific business.
BofA has hired Rajesh Melwani from UBS to be the Asia Pacific head of equity derivatives sales, based in Hong Kong, sources close to the matter said on Thursday [ID:nHKU000146].
In another BofA poach, the bank hired a real estate research team from Bell Potter Securities in Australia, led by veteran analyst Simon Garing, a source told Reuters [ID:nTOE61307U]. Continuación...