Exclusive: Top Bank of America financial companies banker leaves for Oaktree - sources

Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:49pm EDT

The company logo of the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch is displayed at its office in Hong Kong March 8, 2013.   REUTERS/Bobby Yip

The company logo of the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch is displayed at its office in Hong Kong March 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

(Reuters) - William Egan, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) top investment banker for financial institutions, has resigned to join credit investment and private equity firm Oaktree Capital Group LLC (OAK.N), according to people familiar with the matter.

The move from a major investment bank to an alternative asset manager illustrates the growing appeal of non-bank financial firms to finance professionals as new financial regulations after the 2008 financial crisis reshape Wall Street's competitive landscape.

Egan has left his job as co-head of Bank of America's global financial institutions group to join Oaktree, the people said on Tuesday. Egan is joining Oaktree for a leadership role in a new life reinsurance company, some of the people added.

Alternative asset managers are often keen to manage the assets of life insurance and reinsurance firms because the liabilities of these firms are seen as a good fit for the returns of their credit portfolios.

An internal Bank of America memo sent by Karim Assef, head of global investment banking coverage, and seen by Reuters, named Jim O' Neil, who was co-head of global financial institutions alongside Egan, as the sole head of that business.

The sources asked not to be identified because Egan's move is not public. Egan could not be immediately reached for comment while Bank of America and Oaktree declined to comment.

Egan joined Merrill Lynch in 1999 as head of its insurance investment banking practice. He was previously with Credit Suisse First Boston. He was appointed Bank of America's global head of financial institutions in 2009.

Rob Giammarco and Gary Swidler are co-heads of the Americas financial institutions group and Michael Frieser runs the financial institutions group in Europe, Middle East and Africa for Bank of America.

Los Angeles-based Oaktree had $86.2 billion in assets under management as of the end of March, the majority of which were in private and public corporate debt.

Unlike its credit investment rival Apollo Global Management LLC (APO.N), which manages $59.2 billion on behalf of its life insurance and reinsurance company Athene Holding Ltd, Oaktree has yet to announce any plans for such a venture.

(The story was refiled to drop extraneous word "America's" in paragraph 5.)

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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