TAIPEI, Taiwan — Merrill Lynch said today that it will set up Taiwan's first foreign brokerage branch in January but that it will initially steer clear of the island's own tumbling stock market.
William Schreyer, chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, told a news conference that the new branch will offer Taiwan investors securities listed on the London, Tokyo and New York stock exchanges.
"We want to come in and do things one step at a time," Schreyer said. "We will decide our activities with Taiwanese securities at some point in the future."
Merrill Lynch and Shearson Lehman Hutton Holdings were the only two foreign securities firms to apply for licenses last year under a Finance Ministry program to open the island's financial markets to foreign firms.
Shearson is also expected to open its office in January, although it has not yet made an official announcement.