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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Merrill Takeover Could Lose Boston Jobs

A mingling of two large financial companies could result in the loss of many Boston finance jobs.

Bank of America Corp
. recently rescued Merrill Lynch & Co. from financial woes. Bank of America's wealth management division is located in Boston, and that sector's profit, assets and market leadership doesn't seem to carry the same clout as Merrill's.

This is leaving some current and former Merrill brokers and financial advisers wondering if they will be taken over by Bank of America employees, according to an article by the Boston Business Journal.

"In fact, one result of Bank of America’s $50 billion bid for Merrill Lynch could be a transfer of power, people and processes from Bank of America’s Boston-based wealth management headquarters to Merrill’s turf in New York," the article notes. "Such a move would deliver a serious blow to the local economy and Boston’s standing as a fast-growing money center for the ultra rich."

Bank of America's headquarters in Boston includes such brands as U.S. Trust and Columbia Asset Management, as well as a private banking operation and a small brokerage firm. The bank employs about 9,000 people in Massachusetts, with many of those positions in Boston. A merger between the two companies could result in many of these Boston jobs being lost.

"During the first half of this year, Merrill’s global wealth management division generated $7 billion in revenue and pretax profit of $1.5 billion," the article adds. "Total client assets in global wealth management accounts totaled $1.6 trillion.

"In contrast, Bank of America’s wealth and investment management division, run from Boston by Keith Banks, produced $4.2 billion in revenue and pretax profit of $809 million, not including certain noncore activities," the article continues. "The division holds $867 billion in net client assets."


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