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BofA’s Chief Equity Strategist Kikuchi, 4 Others Resign

BofA’s Chief Strategist Kikuchi, Four Others Resign in Japan
A woman walks past a sign for Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd. in Tokyo. Photographer: Robert Gilhooly/Bloomberg News

Five people, including Chief Equity Strategist Masatoshi Kikuchi, have left Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch & Co. unit in Tokyo, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Quantitative strategist Hayato Nagayoshi, head of Japan research Yohei Osade, head of domestic Japan equity sales Shusuke Nakata, and director of yen equity sales Takao Inoue also resigned from the equity division, according to the person, who declined to be named because the information is not public.

Tsukasa Noda, a Tokyo-based spokesman for the bank, declined to comment. Kikuchi, Nagayoshi and Osade were not immediately available when called by telephone. E-mails to Nakata and Inoue were not immediately returned.

The departures come as Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan aims to trim as much as $8 billion in expenses through steps including 30,000 job cuts in retail and support operations.

“Kikuchi was the poster strategist,” said Koji Toda, chief fund manager at Resona Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. “He was a popular and brilliant man, and we used to receive his reports so I’m surprised at his resignation.”

Kikuchi joined the bank in 2000. He was ranked No. 1 by Institutional Investor magazine’s 2012 survey and by the Nikkei Veritas newspaper’s Japanese strategist rankings. Bank of America Merrill Lynch was ranked second for 2012 overall Japan research by Institutional Investor.

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