JP Morgan Chase & Co has hired former Credit Suisse Group AG executive Neil Hounslow as head of its prime brokerage in Asia-Pacific as the Wall Street bank looks to service hedge funds investing in the region.

Hounslow, who was head of flow financing, prime services, for Asia-Pacific at the Swiss bank, joined JP Morgan about two weeks ago, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for JP Morgan confirmed to Reuters on Friday.

JP Morgan's push into the fiercely competitive prime broking industry is part of the bank's plan to expand its global offerings to hedge funds. Its prime brokerage services was boosted in 2008 when it acquired Bear Stearns.

The bank launched its prime brokerage service in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in June.

The battle for market share in the prime-brokerage business in Asia has intensified as the alternative industry is becoming more mainstream with more and more institutional investors looking to the asset class as a way to diversify portfolios.

Data on market share of prime brokers is notoriously tough to verify but industry tracker AsiaHedge ranked Goldman Sachs Group Inc , Morgan Stanley , Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG as the top five prime brokers in Asia in a survey released in May.

Prime brokers provide services such as clearing trades and lending money to hedge funds.

(Reporting by Nishant Kumar; Editing by Chris Lewis and Jonathan Hopfner)