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BNP Paribas Said to Hire Ex-Credit Suisse Banker Okazawa

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March 3 (Bloomberg) -- BNP Paribas SA, Europe’s biggest bank, will hire Kyoya Okazawa, former head of Japan equities at Credit Suisse Group AG, to expand its equity business, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Okazawa, 40, who resigned as managing director at Credit Suisse late last year, will start at BNP Paribas in Tokyo as early as next week, said the people who declined to be identified because he hasn’t joined yet. The bank hasn’t decided his official position in the equities department, they said.

Paris-based BNP Paribas has been boosting equity sales, research and trading in Japan since last April, when it hired about 20 staff from KBC Groep NV’s Tokyo-based unit. Japan’s benchmark Topix stock index has climbed 5.6 percent this year on signs that the economic recovery is picking up.

BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Ltd. opened its Tokyo branch in 1987 and employed 532 people as of July, according to its website. The bank didn’t offer equity research services for major industries as of March 2010, Bloomberg data show.

BNP Paribas spokesman Toru Ichikawa declined to comment.

Okazawa joined Credit Suisse in 2001 as the head of international equity sales. He previously worked at UBS AG’s Japanese brokerage unit in 1993 after graduating from Keio University.

The bank in November hired Hiroshi Yamashina from Citigroup Inc. as an analyst covering the technology, telecommunications and media industries.

To contact the reporters on this story: Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.net; Shunichi Ozasa in Tokyo at sozasa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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