BofA Is Jockeying to Handle More China Debt Sales, Moynihan Says

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan talks about tax reform, the state of the U.S. economy and prospects for Europe.

Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said the lender is pushing to deepen some of the business it conducts in China as the world’s No. 2 economy opens further to foreign investment.

The U.S. bank is working toward “local incorporation” in China so that it can more easily help firms there sell debt, Moynihan said in Bloomberg Television interview. It has several hundred people working in the country and already has a debt underwriting business focused on China, he said.

There’s “a lot of work for U.S. companies and other global companies” to provide services to Chinese firms including securities sales and cash management, Moynihan said. “It’s a good market for us.”

China promised last month to let foreign firms take majority stakes in the nation’s securities firms, lifting restrictions that long frustrated U.S. and European banks. Bank of America is among the few global investment banks that lack a joint venture in China. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley have signaled intentions to take controlling stakes in their Chinese JVs.

Moynihan was less bullish on equity underwriting there. He said the firm doesn’t have plans to expand that business now because it’s not clear how much more activity could be generated. Most of the equity business is conducted out of Hong Kong, he said.

— With assistance by David Westin

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