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JPMorgan nets ICICI executive to run India

Last updated on: August 29, 2008 12:11 IST

JPMorgan said it had hired Kalpana Morparia, one of India 's most senior domestic bankers, to run its operations in the country.

Ms Morparia, a former joint managing director of ICICI, the country's largest private sector bank, will replace Dominic Price, who is leaving to run JPMorgan's Vietnam operations.

Gaby Abdelnour, chief executive of JPMorgan Asia Pacific, said the appointment was "evidence of the importance which JPMorgan places on India as a priority within the firm's global growth strategy".

The appointment comes at an increasingly challenging time for investment banks in India , which have been ramping up their staff in anticipation of rapid growth in what only two years ago was still a small market.

While the country has escaped the worst of the financial crisis in developed markets, deal flow has started to dry up, particularly share trading and new share issuance in the form of initial public offerings.

Ms Morparia will take over a rapidly growing team of 300 frontline staff across JPMorgan's divisions of investment banking, asset wealth management and treasury securities services.

A 33-year veteran of ICICI, she retired as joint managing director of ICICI Bank last year to take over responsibility for the group's insurance, securities and asset management divisions.

ICICI had planned to make her the head of a proposed holding company for these units. But the plan was scuppered by objections from the Reserve Bank of India , the central bank.

This year, Indian companies have continued to undertake mergers and acquisitions but the boom in the stock market has stalled. The benchmark Sensex index is down about one-third from its January highs.

JPMorgan has gone from fifth to sixth this year in India among foreign banks in terms of investment banking revenue, according to data company Dealogic.

Joe Leahy in Mumbai
Source: source