The News: BofA Investment Bank Sees London as 'Battleground for Success'

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Top executives at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have placed London at the center of plans to boost the worldwide presence of the investment bank.

Both CEO Brian Moynihan and Thomas Montag, the head of BofA's global markets and banking division, signaled the choice by attending a global "off-site" management meeting there at the end of March. According to Financial News, Montag told the staff meeting, "I wanted to hold our first global off-site in London as this is the battleground for our success. This is the place we need to win now."

BofA's Europe, Middle East and Africa global markets business (run from London by Mike Stewart and David Gu) led the bank's first-quarter sales and trading revenue. And the UK corporate and investment banking business, run by Simon Mackenzie-Smith and Richard Taylor, has been successful retaining top staff and has added corporate broking clients. However, Financial News reports:

The European business has lost more top-level bankers than the U.S. Some 125 former Merrill Lynch managing directors in investment banking have left globally since its September 2008 takeover, with the majority of those that were not redundancies coming in Europe. Its financial institutions business, formerly Merrill Lynch's backbone in the region, has been particularly hard hit.

Christian Meissner, who comes aboard in July as head of EMEA business, has a target to add "between five and seven rainmakers for the region," the news service says, citing unnamed sources familiar BofA hiring plans. The bank also aims to strengthen its financial institutions group, weakened by several departures including Matthew Greenburgh, head of corporate and investment banking for FIG.

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