Merrill Lynch HSBC loses second marketing chief

Wealth management company Merrill Lynch HSBC has lost its second sales and marketing director in four months, raising further speculation about the future of the joint venture.

David Pitman, who was handed the job in January as part of an internal promotion, has moved to Merrill Lynch to take a senior strategic role. He has been replaced by Merrill Lynch HSBC marketer David Hardy.

Merrill Lynch has brought Pitman back into the company amid reports that it is trying to back out of the joint venture, which has performed disappointingly since its launch last May. An announcement on the future of the company is expected over the next month.

Late last year Merrill Lynch HSBC drastically cut its plans to open offices around the world. Apart from offices in the US and Canada, it is now Internetand telephone-based and run from the UK.

Pitman was handed the role of sales and marketing director in January, in addition to his role as head of international development, after marketing director Greg Hill took voluntary redundancy to return to the US (MW January 10).

He controlled marketing across the UK, Asia, Hong Kong, South America and Bahrain.

Merrill Lynch HSBC’s launch was backed by a £10m campaign by Lowe Lintas.

The company targets people with assets of £50,000-plus to invest, but the minimum amount needed to open an account is £10,000. Merrill Lynch HSBC offers share trading for a flat fee of £19.95.

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