Merrill Lynch Shuts Brazil Private-Banking Unit, Firing 40

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the lender that plans to cut at least 30,000 jobs to control expenses, closed its Merrill Lynch private-banking operation in Brazil and dismissed about 40 people.

“This was not an easy decision, but necessary given our goal to maximize shareholder return” Selena Morris, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, said in an e-mailed statement.

Bank of America is at least the third financial firm to announce layoffs in Brazil this year as the European sovereign- debt crisis persists. London-based ICAP Plc, the world’s biggest broker of transactions between banks, fired about 50 people in October as part of a restructuring, Alan Gandelman, the firm’s country head, said on Oct. 6.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said on Oct. 20 that it decided to cut about 30 jobs as the lender abandons plans to start an investment bank in Brazil, according to an e-mailed statement from Michael Geller, a company spokesman. Carlos Braga, who headed the office, and senior economist Zeina Latif are among the employees being fired by RBS.

Morris said that Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are committed to Brazil and continue to focus on developing the corporate and investment-banking business and serving private and institutional clients.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gabrielle Coppola in New York at gcoppola@bloomberg.net; Cristiane Lucchesi in Sao Paulo at clucchesi5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Helder Marinho at hmarinho@bloomberg.net; David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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