BofA’s Fixed-Income Trading Co-Head Seebacher Said to Leave

Gerhard Seebacher, co-head of global fixed-income, currency and commodities trading at Bank of America Corp., is leaving after 18 years at the firm, said two people briefed on the matter.

Seebacher led the business with David Sobotka, who will remain as sole head of the unit, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the change hasn’t been announced publicly. Seebacher will retire at the end of this month “to pursue other opportunities in the industry as it continues to evolve,” co-Chief Operating Officer Thomas K. Montag said today in a staff memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

The change leaves Sobotka, a former Merrill Lynch & Co. commodities trader who ran Bank of America’s proprietary trading desk, atop a business that generated 13 percent of the lender’s revenue in 2012. FICC includes buying and selling products from government bonds to credit-default swaps.

“There are fewer and fewer legacy Bank of America managers left in the investment bank, it’s Merrill guys who are running things now,” said Richard Lipstein, managing director of New York-based recruiting firm Gilbert Tweed International. “A good number of these co-head arrangements are made with the goal of eventually finding a winner to run the business.”

Bank of America named Seebacher co-head of FICC trading in November 2011, after the firm’s worst fixed-income trading quarter since the financial crisis. The lender, amid concerns about the European debt crisis and a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, generated $553 million of FICC revenue in the third quarter of 2011, about half that of rivals and $2 billion less than the previous quarter.

Revenue Rebound

In 2012, Seebacher and Sobotka led a rebound, as fixed-income revenue jumped 36 percent for the year to $11 billion, the biggest advance among the five largest Wall Street banks. This year, Bank of America posted a 21 percent first-half drop, compared with a 1 percent decline at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a 5 percent gain at Citigroup Inc. Bank of America ranks second by assets among U.S. lenders.

Previously, Seebacher ran Bank of America teams including global rates, foreign exchange and structured credit trading, and global credit products, Montag wrote. Seebacher helped integrate the firm’s markets platform after the 2009 acquisition of Merrill Lynch and is on the board of the International Swaps & Derivatives Association, according to the note.

Kerrie McHugh, a spokeswoman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, declined to comment and Seebacher didn’t respond to a telephone inquiry.

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