BofA Defectors Head to New Firms as Equities Trading Lags

Bank of America Corp.’s equities unit lost about half a dozen members in recent weeks including John O’Brien, head of New York derivatives sales, who joined Deutsche Bank AG, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

O’Brien, a managing director, previously was co-head of equity-derivatives sales, said the people, who ask not to be named because the moves are private. Michael Kurd, a derivatives trader, was among at least two employees who went to Deutsche Bank, which is based in Frankfurt, and other colleagues left for UBS AG and Morgan Stanley.

Wall Street firms, contending with stagnant trading revenue amid low volatility and new regulations, are adjusting their teams and making selective hires. Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. lender, posted $1.15 billion in equities sales and trading revenue in the first quarter, little changed from a year earlier.

“We’re seeing extraordinary activity at this time compared to the last couple years -- there’s a bit more appetite to upgrade desks,” Michael Karp, chief executive officer of New York-based recruitment firm Options Group Inc., said in a phone interview. “Bonus awards have been announced and so this tends to be the time when people move.”

Lauren Sclafani and Andrew Guman, Bank of America equity-research salespeople, joined Zurich-based UBS, the people said. Kevin Barry, a technology trader and seven-year Merrill Lynch veteran, joined New York-based Morgan Stanley. Rachel Eisenpress, a junior Bank of America equity-sales employee, became a business-development associate at Juice Press, a New York-based purveyor of organic smoothies, soups, vegan desserts and juice-cleanse programs, the people said.

BofA Additions

Bank of America also hired three managing directors in recent weeks, according to one of the people with knowledge of the matter. Whitfield Hines, formerly of HSBC Holdings Plc, will be head of flow equity derivative sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa, or the EMEA region. Roy Martins, who previously worked at Credit Suisse Group AG, was named head of execution services distribution for EMEA, and Lloyd Rosenbaum was hired from JPMorgan Chase & Co. for a sales trading role.

The employees didn’t return calls or e-mails seeking comment. Zia Ahmed, a Bank of America spokesman, said the company had no comment.

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