Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML) has put its Indian wealth management unit on sale, along with its other non-US wealth management businesses, according to persons familiar with the matter.
Reuters reported last month that BofA-ML had put its non-US wealth division up for sale, a deal that includes units in Asia excluding Japan, Europe, West Asia and Latin America. The firm’s Indian wealth management unit is also part of this sale process, according to the persons cited earlier, who declined to be named.
An e-mail query sent to BofA-ML’s global wealth and investment management spokespersons on the issue remained unanswered.
Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Managers, BofA-ML’s Indian wealth management unit, is among the top 10 players in the country. It competes with wealth management arms of foreign players like Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and local banks like HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank. The unit has a staff strength of 125-150 people.
Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Managers provides a combination of in-house and third party products and services to both residents and non-resident Indian clients. According to a media report last month, BofA-ML had asked 32 employees at its Indian wealth management unit to look for jobs.
Royal Bank of Canada, Credit Suisse and Julius Baer are among the suitors seeking to bid for the non-US wealth management businesses of BofA-ML in a deal that could be worth around $2 billion (Rs 10,866 crore), Reuters reported last week citing sources it didn’t identify. The non-US business manages about
$90 billion of an estimated $2 trillion that the BofA wealth division oversees globally, according to Reuters.
The BofA auction is the biggest deal in the wealth management industry since ING Group sold off its private banking assets in Europe and Asia in 2010 for about $1.9 billion, according to Reuters. The auction is another case of consolidation in the wealth management industry and comes as BofA is trying to re-focus the bank after its plunge in value following the financial crisis.