FDI of the month July 2017: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

FDI of the Month | Mon 31 Jul | Author – Business & Finance Bank of America Merrill Lynch FDI July 2017

Leading global investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch set to increase their Irish footprint choosing Dublin for EU hub

In July it was announced that Bank of America Merrill Lynch confirmed Dublin as the location for its EU hub. Bank of America joined the growing number of international financial institutions – including Barclays, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley – to increase their footprint in Dublin following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the corporate and investment banking division of Bank of America, formed through the combination of the corporate and investment banking activities of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch following the acquisition of the latter by the former in January 2009.

In July 2017, Bank of America group chief executive Brian Moynihan announced that the current most important EU banking unit, based in London, is to merge with the existing Irish subsidiary. Plans are also underway to set up an EU trading operation, or broker-dealer, here, subject to approval from the Central Bank.

The Irish workforce at Bank of America’s operations, based between Leopardstown and Hatch Street, is currently in the process of growing from 600 to 700 people, but it is not yet clear what figure this number will grow to.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch operates in four geographic divisions: Asia Pacific, headquartered in Hong Kong; EMEA, currently headquartered in London; Latin America, and US & Canada, headquartered at Bank of America Tower in New York, the global head office. Bank of America has maintained a presence in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region since 1922. In EMEA they have offices in 21 countries, employing over 8,000 staff serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and government clients.

Commenting on the decision, Alexander Wilmot-Sitwell, president for the group’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, said: “Until the final outcome of the political negotiations has been reached, none of us will know how we will operate in the future. We do know that we’re going to have to have entities in place within the single market. But a hub starts attracting other things into it… creating a magnetic influence on the business.”

The move represents a turnaround on their situation in Ireland just one year ago; last summerBank of America Merrill Lynch had slipped back from being Ireland’s largest bank by asset size, to below 40th in the rankings. Operations has been downsized and the Dublin branch was no longer actively driving new business. Since 2012 Since 2012 more than €150 billion of its derivatives business had shifted to London. This trend of retrenching in the Irish market, already turned around, is now set to fully reverse.