BofA to Ask About 40 Bankers in Asia to Find Jobs in Other Units

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(Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp. plans to ask about 40 bankers in Asia to look for jobs in other divisions as it looks to manage the industry-wide decline in dealmaking while trying to avoid headcount reduction, a person familiar with the matter said.

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About half of these client-facing roles are based out of Hong Kong with a focus on China, and the majority of the affected employees are in junior positions, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. A few positions in global markets may also be affected, the person said.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America is one of the few major Wall Street banks to have avoided job cuts in recent months, instead choosing to move bankers into busier areas. The latest redeployment is designed to offer a temporary solution to the dealmaking drought in China and a dramatic slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy.

A Hong Kong-based spokesperson at the bank declined to comment.

While some Wall Street banks are eyeing more rounds of job cuts in Asia this year, Bank of America is under less pressure to reduce headcount because it operates its China investment banking and equities business offshore without a domestic operation on the mainland. Several global banks have spent billions in recent years ramping up in the country, acquiring controlling stakes in securities and asset-management ventures.

Capital markets businesses for China have been hard hit because global investors, the biggest buyers of Chinese stocks, are shying away from the country due to escalating geopolitical tensions between the US and China.

Bank of America has already encouraged some bankers to consider new roles serving middle-market clients with annual revenue of $50 million to $2 billion as it seeks to beef up its business in the growing sector to meet client demand. For years, the company has relied on attrition as a way to manage headcount.

--With assistance from Dong Cao.

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