BofA Merrill Lynch moves to boost weakened broking unit

David Hellier
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SIMON Mackenzie-Smith, who has been drafted in to reinforce Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s battered UK corporate broking unit, has hired Peter Luck from UBS as he strives to retain the bank’s long list of clients following a raft of executive departures.
Luck will be a senior player in the team at Merrill Lynch, which in recent months has lost its two heads, Simon Fraser and Mark Astaire, as well as one of its star deal-makers, Andrew Osborne.

Mackenzie-Smith has been in this position before. Colleagues speak of the time in 2004 when a number of colleagues left for Morgan Stanley, leaving the Merrill team bereft of experienced corporate brokers.

Merrill has the second highest number of FTSE 100 clients of any of the banks and will be desperate to hang on to as many of these as it can, given that lucrative ancillary business usually follows on from a broking relationship.

Astaire is on three months’ gardening leave before joining Barclays Capital. BarCap is expanding its broking coverage and recently found itself added to the team for Xstrata in its merger talks with Glencore.