Bank of America equity derivatives bankers appear to be joining Citi

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Something appears to be afoot in Bank of America Merrill Lynch's (BAML) structured products business. People are leaving. And they seem to be joining Citigroup.

The latest exit from Bank of America is said to be Lionel Fournier, head of equity derivatives hybrid structuring for EMEA at BAML, according to people close to the situation. Headhunters said Fournier left the bank yesterday. Bank of America declined to comment on Fournier's alleged exit; a call to his desk went unanswered.

Fournier may well join Citigroup, said headhunters. The US bank has a record of hiring structured product professionals from its rival and Fournier worked with Simon Yates, head of equity derivatives at Citigroup, at Credit Suisse, where he worked for ten years before joining Citi in 2010. Last August, Citi recruited Mark Valentine, the former head of securitized products at Bank of America as an managing director in its multi-asset group. In December 2012, Citi hired Eric Personne, the former head of EMEA fund solutions at Bank of America, who left BAML in October.

The exits at Bank of America are said to be related to changes instigated by Fabrizio Gallo - the former head of prop trading at Morgan Stanley who joined Bank of America from Brevan Howard in late 2011. "Gallo is no big fan of the structured products business," said one equity derivatives-focused headhunter, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Bank of America declined to comment on the strategy for its structured products business, or on Fournier's alleged departure. Citigroup did not respond to a request to comment on its recruitment strategy for structured products.

Deutsche Bank is also said by headhunters to have lost staff from its equity derivatives business. Declan Crosby, a director in charge of listed derivative sales at the German bank, is said to have left a month ago with his team. A colleague of Crosby's confirmed his departure. Headhunters say he and his team may be off to SocGen.

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