BofA Merrill Lynch Said to Pare Tokyo Office Space to Cut Costs

  • Investment bank will vacate 12th floor of Nihonbashi building
  • Foreign brokerages have been reducing staff numbers in Japan

Bank of America Corp.’s Japanese brokerage unit plans to reduce office space in Tokyo to cut expenses, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., which rents six floors of the Nihonbashi 1-chome Mitsui Building, will vacate one level later this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Investment banks are reducing costs globally, with Credit Suisse Group AG on Wednesday saying it will eliminate an additional 2,000 jobs this year. In Japan, major foreign brokerages shed more than 400 positions in the two years to March 2015 and Merrill Lynch Japan cut more than 70, according to regulatory filings compiled by Bloomberg.

Merrill Lynch Japan will vacate the 12th floor, which houses its investment-banking division, and transfer employees to other levels, the people said. The company currently occupies the sixth and eighth to 12th floors.

Mitsui Fudosan Co. owns the building in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district. Mitsutoshi Tenda, a spokesman for the real estate company, declined to comment.

Merrill Lynch Japan posted a loss of 6.9 billion yen ($61 million) in the year ended March 2015, due to one-time expenses, compared with a profit of 7.3 billion yen a year earlier, its latest filing shows. It employed 769 people, down from 842 two years earlier.

Bank of America was ranked fourth among advisers on Japanese mergers and acquisitions in 2015, up from 17th a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its position among equity underwriters slipped to 11th from seventh, the data show.

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