BofA Hiring Morgan Stanley China Investment-Bank Chairman

Alex To, Morgan Stanley’s chairman of China investment banking, is leaving to join Bank of America Corp. in a similar role, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

To will be head of investment banking for China at Bank of America, the people said, asking not to be named because the move hasn’t been announced. To joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 and focused on clients in the consumer and retail industries in China, a second person said.

Nick Footitt, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Morgan Stanley, confirmed To is leaving the firm. To declined to comment when reached by phone.

Catherine Cai and Wang Bing, co-heads of Bank of America’s investment-banking unit for China since 2011, will focus on originating deals after To joins the firm, one of the people said. Wang didn’t answer two calls seeking comment. Cai didn’t immediately respond to a message left at her office in Hong Kong.

Paul Scanlon, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at Bank of America, declined to comment.

Morgan Stanley ranked second in advising on mergers involving a Chinese company this year while Bank of America was 12th, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. New York-based Morgan Stanley ranked fourth in Chinese overseas equity offerings this year and Bank of America, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was 12th, the data show.

Domestic Partner

In October 2012, Margaret Ren returned to Bank of America from BNP Paribas SA to be head and chairman of its China business. The bank is the only major Wall Street firm that has yet to find a domestic securities partner that would allow it to underwrite stock and bond sales in mainland China.

Morgan Stanley owned part of China International Capital Corp., the country’s first investment bank, until it sold its 34 percent stake in 2010. The next year, it began a joint venture in China with Huaxin Securities Co.

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