Bank of America Merrill Lynch munis sees old boss return

June 6 Thu Jun 6, 2013 1:08pm EDT

June 6 (Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch is bringing back its former head of municipal research after last week's departure of the firm's three top muni analysts.

Philip Fischer, who ran the group from 2004 to 2009, will rejoin the firm on Monday, the bank said on Thursday, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Nearly half of the municipal research team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the biggest lead manager of municipal bond sales in the $3.7 trillion U.S. market, left the firm last week in a restructuring of the unit.

John Hallacy, an award-winning analyst, was head of muni research and had been at the firm for more than two decades. Also departing are Susannah Page and Howard Sitzer. Four junior analysts remained.

Fischer co-founded eBooleant Consulting when he left Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He wrote a book on municipal bond investing that was published earlier this year.

Like Hallacy, Fischer is considered an all-star of analysis and research in the muni bond market.

"Under Phil's leadership, the group will continue to produce municipal credit research and develop a municipal strategy product with a focus on thematic pieces and relative value analysis and ideas," the bank said in the memo, written by Michael Maras, head of global credit and global emerging market's fixed income research.

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