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UBS Hires Takagi From JPMorgan, Expanding Japan Equity Research

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said it hired analyst Naomi Takagi from JPMorgan Chase & Co. in a bid to expand its equity research business in Japan.

Takagi, rated best Japan food and beverage analyst this year by the Nikkei Veritas newspaper, joined UBS this week, said Damien Horth, head of Asia and Japan equity research. The bank will hire more analysts in the “next couple of weeks,” he said.

Domestic and overseas banks are luring research talent from rivals to earn more commissions and fees from equity-related business in Japan. Takagi is the latest of at least three senior hires at UBS in the country as the Swiss bank boosts its equity research and investment banking businesses in Japan.

Tokyo-based Horth, 37, will move to Hong Kong this year after the bank expanded his duties to include all of Asia from solely covering Japan. Fund managers in Japan are demanding more research on Asian markets as the continent leads the global economic recovery and Japanese companies seek growth in the region, Horth said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday.

Asahi Breweries Ltd., the country’s second-largest beermaker, agreed to buy Australia’s P&N Beverages last month, building on its acquisition of Cadbury Plc’s Australian drinks unit last year. Asahi, which is among the companies reported to be interested in bidding for Foster’s Group Ltd.’s beer business, is adding overseas business given the 16 percent contraction of Japan’s beer market since its peak in 1994.

Kirin Holdings Co., Japan’s largest brewer, and Suntory Holdings Ltd. are among beverage makers that are also seeking mergers and acquisitions.

Watanabe From Citigroup

Takagi’s recruitment follows the hiring of Yoshifumi Watanabe from Citigroup Inc. last month to head UBS’s financial institutions group. UBS also employed Zenji Nakamura in May from Nomura Holdings Inc. to run its fixed income, currencies and commodities unit.

Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch & Co. also plans to boost equity research in Japan to 360 companies from 318 this year, adding firms in the automobile, pharmaceutical, Internet and transportation industries. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-largest bank, is also adding domestic research analysts.

Recent defections of other top-rated analysts to rival firms include securities and insurance analyst Masao Muraki, hired by Deutsche Bank AG this month from Daiwa Securities Group Inc., and paper industry analyst Hiroyuki Okaseri, recruited by Sumitomo Mitsui’s Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. from Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.

To contact the reporter on this story: Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at

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