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Best global investment bank 2014: BofA Merrill rides to the front

A battle-tested management team has held on through the turbulent years following Bank of America’s rescue of Merrill Lynch. Under Tom Montag, the firm quietly rebuilt an M&A capability that is thriving as that business roars back, supported by the bank’s strength in providing finance. As other banks shrink, BofA Merrill still harbours ambitions at home and abroad to be all things to most people.

Montag illustration-600

Second in the Dealogic global DCM revenue ranking for the first half of 2014 behind JPMorgan; third in the global announced M&A rankings behind Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley; second in the global ECM bookrunner rankings behind Goldman; second in the syndicated loan arranger rankings. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is top of precisely none of the volume arranger or revenue rankings in the key investment banking businesses.

And yet it is in the top two or three in almost every single one of them, and for that reason is Euromoney’s best investment bank of the year. No other firm is so strong or so well balanced across all the capital raising and advisory businesses. So while JPMorgan beat its chest about its fortress balance sheet and ability to keep lending in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis and made headway in investment banking, now that the equity capital markets and M&A businesses are picking up strongly, BAML is now the big balance sheet bank that is riding to the front in those markets.