Why then are so many of its investment bankers leaving?
In the past few weeks alone, Deutsche Bank has hired more than a dozen of its M&A bankers in the US, Evercore has hired a senior transportation and infrastructure banker, and its head of Asia Pac M&A has resigned.
Ken Lewis has said all the departures are regretful, but this may not be enough to stem the tide.
The integration with Merrill Lynch is dragging on, with another round of redundancies in the bank’s FICC team as recently as late April. Alleged cultural differences between the two banks have been widely documented, and as we noted last week, BofA/Merrill has been losing investment banking market share fast.
There are some positive points as a counterweight to this. Bank of America had a strong first quarter, thanks to Merrill Lynch. And Goldman analysts upgraded the stock to a buy this week, whilst predicting that commodities, credit and equities income would continue growing in Q2.
Merrill bankers at BofA may think twice about leaving now that the stock is recovering. However, the stock is still below the $14 it was at when the Merrill deal went through.
If Merrill continues to lose M&A share, its bankers are unlikely to stay for long. And as M&A picks up, plenty of other places will be willing to have them.