As Montag leaves, eyes turn to Bank of America MPs for investment banking

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(Bloomberg) – For more than a decade, Tom Montag has dominated the massive investment bank of Bank of America Corp., not only managing its business, but taking care of many of its major clients on its own. .

The news that he will be leaving his long-time Wall Street seat at the end of the year has left a question to arise within the company and the industry as a whole: Who could fill such shoes?

The word around Bank of America is that Montag’s responsibilities could be split between a few people. The company is committed to saying more about the estate in the coming weeks. In the meantime, talks are ongoing and closely watched. Many insiders naturally wonder about a contingent of senior executives overseeing some of the pillars of the Wall Street powerhouse that 64-year-old Montag has helped build: trading, commerce, and commercial banking.

Matthew Koder heads the global merchant and investment banking division. Jim DeMare is President of Global Markets. And Alastair Borthwick is in charge of expanding commercial banking operations, serving mid-sized businesses and industries such as real estate and education. All three are part of the management committee, the highest decision-making body in the company.

Like Montag, Koder made his debut at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. After stints at UBS Group AG in London and Hong Kong, the Australian joined Bank of America as head of transactions in Asia in 2011. He eventually moved on to took responsibility for developing the company’s operations throughout the region.

The bank called on Koder for his current position in 2018 when an internal debate over risk-taking led to Christian Meissner’s departure, an episode that angered some negotiators. At the time, Koder had a reputation for adhering to Bank of America’s low tolerance for danger.

Increase in income

DeMare, an alumnus of Salomon Brothers and Citigroup Inc. trading floors, joined Bank of America in 2008. Over the years, he has held positions responsible for trading, origination and asset management activities. risks in Bank of America’s bond business.

Long considered a candidate for higher positions, DeMare landed his current title and was added to the company’s board of directors in mid-2020 as he led his lines of business through the most fluctuations. violent of a generation. The markets segment generated more than $ 5.2 billion in profits last year, up 50% from the previous year as Bank of America, like its rivals, profited from the market turmoil caused by the pandemic.

DeMare’s division has also seen senior exits in equities over the past year. Longtime equities chief Fabrizio Gallo left last year following the rise of his fixed-income counterpart, DeMare. The bank has since poached competitors to strengthen its ranks and give it a better competitive position.

Borthwick, another Goldman veteran, has served at the top of Commercial Banking since 2012. Prior to that he was Co-Head of Capital Markets which included responsibility for Equity Markets, Debt Capital Markets quality, leveraged financing, and rate and currency origination. .

Of course, several other senior executives serving investment bank clients also sit on the company’s board of directors.

Among them, Sanaz Zaimi, who oversees the sales of fixed income securities, currencies and commodities from Paris and is Managing Director of BofA Securities Europe. Bernard Mensah, president of the bank’s international activities, previously co-led FICC trading.

Trigger promotions

Montag, whose retirement plan was announced Thursday, has been known for his iron grip on investment banking since joining Bank of America in its takeover of Merrill Lynch during the 2008 financial crisis.

He not only participates in promotions several echelons below, but sets bonuses for individual executives and sometimes members of their teams.

He’s also known for cultivating important relationships, whether that’s chatting with BlackRock Inc. CEO Larry Fink, courting Japan’s biggest banks, or partying alongside Hillary Clinton John Kerry. and Beyoncé at one of the world’s most expensive weddings in India.

Most of its deputies, on the other hand, are known for their administrative style.

The question of who could succeed Montag at the investment bank is further complicated by his plans to step down as CEO of the entire company. The bank could very well divide the positions – one or both of them being held by more than one person, thus eliminating a new generation of top executives.

But Wall Street is heavily focused on investment banking, as promotions at the top of those trades would trigger others below, creating winners and losers in the months to come. Filling the Montag void will ultimately determine how competitive the bank remains in a variety of industries.

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