Expansion ahead for BoA Merrill treasury services

BoA Merrill poaches Percy Batliwalla and Tim Fleming to fill new treasury services positions in Asia-Pacific.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has announced the appointment of Percy Batliwalla and Tim Fleming to regional leadership positions within its Asia-Pacific treasury services business as part of a drive to expand its overall corporate banking segment in the region.

Singapore-based Batliwalla is the bank's new head of Asia-Pacific financial institutions treasury sales and Hong Kong-based Fleming is the new head of Asia-Pacific corporate treasury sales. Both positions are new to the bank and effective from May. Batliwalla and Fleming report to Dub Newman, London-based head of global treasury sales.  

"These significant hires will help drive the business forward and will enhance our ability to meet the dynamic corporate banking needs of our clients around the world," said Paul Donofrio, London-based head of global corporate banking, in a statement. "Corporate banking is a core business for Bank of America in the US and, through our acquisition of Merrill Lynch, we gained access to hundreds of investment banking and global markets clients in EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] and Asia to whom we can now provide a complete range of financial solutions."

Donofrio was appointed to his position in February as part of a strategy to unify the investment and corporate banking sides of the institution. He retains his former duties as head of investment banking for EMEA.

A bank representative said that, in Asia-Pacific, BoA Merrill has made some "significant head-count increases" within the corporate banking business over the past couple of months and will continue to make new hires in the region.

This month, Ivo Distelbrink joined BoA Merrill as Asia head of global treasury services after 16 years at Citi.

Asked how the bank plans to compete with regional treasury services heavyweights Citi and HSBC, the representative declined to answer. However, they reiterated Donofrio's comments and noted that BoA Merrill intends to capitalise on the clients it gained access to through the 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

The bank is in the midst of trying to extend its treasury services and corporate banking market leadership position in the US to the rest of the world. Domestically, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based BoA Merrill is one of the largest providers of treasury services competing against the likes of Citi, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo Bank. It is known for a wide range of cash management products targeting large and small businesses alike, for example it runs the popular Small Business Online Community.   

Batliwalla joins BoA Merrill from J.P. Morgan where he was Asia-Pacific head of treasury services sales for financial institutions. He has also held a number of roles in the financial industry including in corporate banking, finance and audit, and structured trade.

Fleming joins the bank from Citi where he was head of treasury and trade solutions in China. He has over 25-years experience in cash management and transaction services and sales in Europe and Asia.

In addition to the two treasury-related appointments, BoA Merrill also hired Charles Alexander as head of Asia-Pacific corporate banking coverage. Currently on gardening leave, he will join the bank in June after two years at Standard Chartered Bank.

Last year, BoA Merrill reported $11 billion in treasury services-related revenue, up 28.9% over 2008, in its global commercial banking and global corporate and investment banking segments.

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