HONG KONG (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) will recruit about 50 bankers for its investment banking team in Asia this year, as it pushes to bolster its dealmaking business and shore up revenues from the unit, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Bank of America’s (BofA’s) Asia headcount expansion comes against the backdrop of a subdued recruitment outlook for the broader investment banking business as global lenders grapple with cost pressures and slowing M&A momentum.
A third of BofA’s new hires in Asia will be senior bankers, including managing directors, for its merger and acquisitions advisory and capital markets businesses, mainly in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, the people told Reuters.
BofA’s hiring tally for the year could change depending on the deals’ momentum, said two of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the plans are still confidential.
A BofA spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.
Deals involving Asia-Pacific firms worldwide fell in 2019 amid the U.S.-China trade war and tighter regulatory scrutiny. But after a Phase 1 agreement between the world’s two biggest economies, trade tensions have eased, which should bode well for dealmaking.
Bankers see Chinese state-owned companies playing a major role in dealmaking in 2020, and expect large floats including a potential listing of Ant Financial, an Alibaba (BABA.N) (9988.HK) affiliate, to buoy capital markets activity.
With the renewed focus on investment banking, BofA is aiming to break into the top four of Asian investment banking advisory league tables in the next few years, the people said.