Bank of America plans to open an Australian office, in Sydney, for the launch of its investment management arm.

The investment management subsidiary of Bank of America, Columbia Management, has appointed the global executive recruitment firm of Egon Zehnder to find someone to head up the new office. The search is being run from Egon Zehnder’s Sydney office. Columbia Management has about $US380 billion under management, in both equities and fixed interest. However, it is understood the firm intends to concentrate on fixed interest products for its Australian launch. Bank of America wants to leverage off its small Australian institutional banking presence to assist the Columbia Management launch. Columbia appointed a new president only last month – Michael Jones, who is the firm’s former head of distribution. Jones indicated that Columbia was embarking on a major expansion phase, with its largest-ever marketing and advertising campaign. A new head of distribution is also expected to be announced soon. For the Australian market, it is understood that Columbia wants to prove its global equities product before offering this to potential Australian clients. Selling fixed interest strategies to Australian super funds is a difficult task in the current market environment.

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