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OSAKA — Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co. opened a branch in the Umeda District in Kita Ward here Friday, its first branch in the Kansai region, and will target local individual and corporate customers.

The company, which will set up 33 branches in Japan, plans to open two more branches in Osaka. Its Shinsaibashi branch will start operations Tuesday and the Namba branch is slated to open in early August.

Although the brokerage does not have special strategies tailored for the local market, Thomas Milton, deputy president of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, said its policy of not moving any of its employees to other branches will help the workers better understand the needs and values of local clients.

Milton said the company believes having employees committed to a community by staying, living and working there will add significant value over the long term. The Umeda branch is operated by 57 employees, all former workers of the collapsed Yamaichi Securities Co.

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