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Tapering leads Bank of America to focus on M&A, equities

Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 | 4:44 PM ET

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp is looking to win more advisory and stock underwriting business to offset an expected slowdown in the issuance of corporate bonds, a top executive said in an interview on Thursday.

"Over time, the fixed-income markets in particular will become less liquid" as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve's efforts to scale back their monthly asset purchases, said Christian Meissner, the head of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America.

"Clearly, the M&A and ECM areas are going to be areas of big focus and that's certainly one place where we're going to be spending a lot of time" to make up for less fixed-income activity, he said, referring to advising on mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets.

Meissner's group earned a record $1.74 billion in investment banking fees for Bank of America in the fourth quarter, more than competitors JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Additionally, Meissner said that he did not anticipate the investment bank's return on equity to go back to pre-crisis levels.

"Considering what's happening in terms of the capitalization of our institutions and also at this point still lower levels of activity, the two are incompatible," he said.

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