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Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving clients in more than 150 countries and maintaining business relationships with more than 80 percent of the Global Fortune 500. For more than 60 years, Bank of America has operated in Asia, providing clients in the region with corporate investment banking, global markets, investment management, treasury management and leasing services. Today, BofA has more than 5,000 employees in Asia working out of 12 countries across five time zones.
How Merrill Lynch came into the BofA fold dates back to the worldwide financial crisis. In September 2008, with many of the largest banks in the world on the brink of failure, Bank of America made just about every headline in the world, announcing that it would buy New York-based investment bank Merrill Lynch. On January 1, 2009, the bank officially acquired Mother Merrill, as the bank is often called, in exchange for common and preferred stock with a value of US$29.1 billion. When the deal closed, it made BofA the biggest U.S. bank in terms of assets, with more than US$2 trillion. It also made the combined firm the largest brokerage firm in the world, with about 16,000 financial advisors (a/k/a the "Thundering Herd"); one of the leading investment banking advisory firms, with significant operations in M&A advisory as well as debt and equity underwriting; and one of the world’s top wealth management firms, with Merrill Lynch’s nearly 50 percent stake in U.S.-based investment management company BlackRock.
BofA Merrill currently serves more than 140,000 businesses throughout the world. The bank is led by BofA President and CEO Brian Moynihan, who took the company reins from former CEO Kenneth Lewis in late 2009. In early 2011, Moynihan announced that, unlike the strategy enacted under previous management, BofA will not be making any acquisitions in the near future. "We aren't buying a European bank," he said. "I couldn't think of anything less interesting."
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