Phil Fischer to Become Bank of America’s Muni Research Head

Phil Fischer will rejoin Bank of America Merrill Lynch as head of municipal research, a position he held from 2004 to 2009, after chief John Hallacy announced his retirement amid a shake-up of the division.

Fischer, author of “Investing in Municipal Bonds,” has about 30 years of municipal-finance experience, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News announcing his appointment.

Selena Morris, a spokeswoman for Charlotte-based Bank of America, confirmed Fischer’s hiring. He will join the team June 10 and report to Michael Maras, head of global credit research.

“Under Phil’s leadership, the group will continue to produce municipal credit research and develop a municipal strategy product with a focus on thematic pieces and relative value analysis and ideas,” the memo said.

Hallacy, 57, on June 3 confirmed he would step down and declined to comment further. Morris said then that Susannah Page and Howard Sitzer, both muni strategists, were exiting, and that Hallacy would retire next month.

Wall Street firms in the past 30 months laid out plans to cut more than 300,000 jobs to curb costs. In January, Morgan Stanley said it would eliminate 1,700 investment-banking positions and defer bonuses for top earners. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reduced payroll expenses by more than a third in the five years through 2012.

Hallacy worked in state and local-government finance 34 years, according to a biography provided by Bank of America. He started at Standard & Poor’s, working as a muni-debt analyst for six years. He also worked at public-debt insurers including MBIA Inc. and FGIC Corp., according to the biography.

Fischer was designated an all-star muni strategist by Smith’s Research and Institutional Investor for more than 10 years, according to the memo.

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