Bank of America’s Orcel Said to Move to UBS, Moulds to Quit

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Bank of America
Bank of America Corp. at a branch in San Francisco on March 14, 2012. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp.’s Andrea Orcel and Jonathan Moulds are stepping down, depriving the firm of two of its most senior executives in Europe.

Orcel, chairman of global banking and markets, is leaving to join UBS AG, where he will run the investment bank alongside Carsten Kengeter, said people with knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified before an announcement. Orcel left rather than take up Moulds’s post as president of the firm in Europe, one of the people said.

Bank of America is losing the pair as global banking and markets chief Tom Montag tries to revive the unit after it posted two consecutive quarterly losses last year. Montag told staff in January to prepare for a “new game” and named Christian Meissner sole head of global investment banking. The unit has been hit by an exodus of bankers since the takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. in 2009.

“Effectively you have two cultures that didn’t mix,” said Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of the Kennedy Group, a London-based recruitment firm. “It’s like an oil tanker in the sea now, with no port to go to.”

An announcement on the moves may be made as soon as today, the people said. Moulds may be replaced by Rupert Hume-Kendall, one of the people said. Hume-Kendall, chairman of global capital markets, didn’t return a call to his office today. John McIvor, a spokesman for Bank of America, declined to comment on the departures, as did a spokesman for UBS.

$33.8 Million Compensation

Orcel, 48, a top Merrill Lynch dealmaker, became chairman of global banking and markets after Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America completed the Merrill takeover. The bank expanded his role in 2010, making him president of emerging markets including Asia.

He joined Merrill in 1992 as part of its team advising companies in the financial-services industry. He has worked on some of Europe’s biggest banking takeovers, including Banco Santander SA’s acquisition of Britain’s Abbey National Plc in 2004, UniCredit SpA’s 7.5 billion-euro ($9.9 billion) rights offering this year, as well as Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc on its acquisition of ABN Amro Holding NV.

Orcel received a reported $33.8 million in compensation for 2008, the year when Merrill Lynch had net losses of $27 billion, prompting criticism from investors as well as former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

Moulds, 46, a British citizen, moved back to London in 2005 from Chicago to oversee debt and equity sales and trading in Europe and Asia for Bank of America. He helped build the bank’s over-the-counter derivatives trading business and held positions including global head of rate derivatives trading, head of global derivatives and head of global rates and commodities.

Rankings Decline

Bank of America’s position in the rankings for stock underwriting and mergers advisory has been slipping, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm was placed eighth for stock offerings in Europe, Middle East and Africa this year, down from fifth in 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The bank is 10th in mergers involving companies in western Europe, down from ninth last year and fourth in 2007, the record year, the data show.

Bank of America lost market share last year to rivals including Morgan Stanley in the trading of equities, bonds, currencies and commodities, Matthew O’Connor, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, said in a Jan. 19 research note.

Sergio Ermotti

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti is seeking to focus the Zurich-based investment bank after it was rocked by a $2.3 billion loss from unauthorized trading last year that forced the departure of Oswald Gruebel. The lender said last year it plans to shrink its fixed-income trading business, which will be less profitable under stricter capital rules, leaving it more reliant on its equity and investment-banking businesses for income.

At UBS, Orcel will focus on the advisory part of the business, and Kengeter will focus on fixed income, currencies and commodities, one of the people said.

“This is part of a strategy on the part of UBS to attract quality people,” Richard Lipstein, a managing director at Boyden Global Executive Search in New York, said by telephone. “UBS was able to convince Orcel that they are sufficiently committed to the business that this was a good move for him. He probably felt increasingly uncomfortable at Bank of America.”

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