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09 Jan, 2008

Robyn Hall and Leah Milner
Date: 08-Jan-2008

Daniel Pace, head of Merrill Lynch's global structured finance and investments division, and Olivier DeFaux, director of consumer, principal and strategic investments, are both believed to have left the investment bank.
Pace has been instrumental in overseeing Merrill's sub-prime activity in the UK, particularly through Mortgages PLC and Wave, formerly Freedom Lending. He has also managed Merrill's other mortgage lender funding committments.

The departures come as some industry pundits cast doubt on the future of US banks' commitment to the UK specialist lending market.

Write downs at Merrill as a result of the credit crunch care currently estimated at $11.5bn.

At the time of writing, a source within Merrill confimed Pace had left the company. DeFaux's departure has yet to be confirmed. An official spokesman was unavailable for comment.

Pace has worked in the UK for over three years. Prior to that he spent five years in Tokyo, creating and running Merrill Lynch's GSFI business there.

Before Japan, he spent three years trading Merrill's residential mortgage portfolio in the US.

When Mortgage Strategy interviewed Pace in September 2006 he described himself as having "a classic mortgage and asset background".

GSFI was part of Merrill's Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities business, which was headed up by Osman Semerci who lost his job in October 2007.

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