Las Vegas - Cohen & Co. last week announced it had snagged Taro Masuyama, the former head of Asia Pacific and Japan structured credit products at Merrill Lynch, to head up its new asset management business in the Asian-Pacific region, Cohen Asia. During Masuyama's seven-year tenure at Merrill, he oversaw the investment bank's CDO business in the region, which originated both cash and synthetic CDOs backed by Japanese and other Asian assets.

Cohen has opened offices in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. "We see great potential for CDO asset management in Asia, and we believe that there is demand for an asset manager with the product and servicing offerings and track record for value creation that we possess," said Chris Ricciardi, Cohen's chief executive. Cohen is planning more hires for the shop, but declined to say whether there were other hires in addition to Masuyama.

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