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BofA Said to Hire Deutsche Bank’s Zhang for Asia M&A

Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. lender by assets, hired Zhang Xiuping from Deutsche Bank AG as co-head of mergers and acquisitions for Asia, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Zhang, 40, who will lead Bank of America’s regional M&A team together with Michael Cho, left Deutsche Bank last week and will join the U.S. bank in December, the people said, asking not to be identified before an announcement. She ran the German lender’s China mergers advisory.

The hiring is a boost to Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch & Co. unit, which slipped to 17th this year in advising Chinese companies on overseas takeovers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Zhang helped bolster Deutsche Bank’s ranking in such deals to second this year from No. 17 when she joined the lender in 2008, the data show.

Rob Stewart, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Bank of America, confirmed Zhang’s appointment. Deutsche Bank spokesman Michael West declined to comment.

Merrill is ranked first advising companies in Asia-Pacific this year with almost $100 billion worth of acquisitions, rising from eighth last year, Bloomberg data show. Zhang is likely to focus on beefing up China’s M&A coverage, the people said.

Zhang advised on China Petrochemical Corp.’s $4.65 billion acquisition of Syncrude Canada Ltd. in April and on PetroChina Co.’s purchase of Singapore Petroleum Corp. last year. She also advised Hunan Valin Iron & Steel Group on its $922 million investment in Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. in 2009.

Before joining Deutsche Bank, Zhang was head of China natural resources banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co. She holds an MBA from Rollins College in the U.S. and a bachelors’ degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University, according to an internal memo sent by Merrill today.

Bank of America’s banking and markets business hired more than 800 people outside the U.S. in the past 18 months, extending Merrill Lynch’s reach, Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said last month at an investment conference in New York.

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