Global brokerage and investment bank Merrill Lynch is counting on India for growth. Chief Executive Officer John Thain said on Wednesday that Merrill Lynch is looking to grow its business in India.
Thain is on his first visit to India after he took over as the CEO of Merrill Lynch in December. Merrill Lynch, which had cut 4,000 jobs since the sub-prime related write downs started, had said the crisis would not restrict its growth in Asia Pacific.
"We see better opportunities outside US for the next one year," Thain said. The company has doubled its head count in India in the last two years and its revenues have grown four times.
Merrill Lynch is focusing on the wealth management business and in raising resources for expanding Indian businesses in India as well as assisting in global takeovers. “In India there are interesting opportunities and we are active,” Thain said.
The US is growing at the slowest, and the consumers there would pull back on their spending with soaring food and fuel prices and falling home prices, Thain said. In relative terms India offers better investment opportunity as the country is “less coupled” to the US economy and continues to grow at a fast pace.
Financial firms hit by sub-prime so far have done pretty well in raising $300 billion in capital so far and there should be no more major write-downs, Thain said. However, banks exposed to consumer credit, like credit cards are likely to face greater delinquencies, Thain said.