By Michael J. Moore
Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Wall Street firms are once again competing for top talent as the economic outlook improves and clients take on more leverage, said Christian Meissner, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global investment banking.
“The best people are in very high demand,” Meissner, 44, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, “there wasn’t much of a market, but at the moment, yes, absolutely.”
Meissner said he expects the broader international merger market to pick up in 2014 after a year in which most major deals involved a U.S. company. While Bank of America has sought to build its advisory and equity underwriting units, all investment banks will suffer when record debt underwriting drops, he said.
Bank of America is the second-biggest U.S. lender by assets and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Last year was the first since the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. in which company earned more from investment-banking fees than New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation’s largest bank.