Mumbai: Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoA-ML) will focus on corporate banking as it seeks to tap into a growing economy and healthier company profits, said Kaku Nakhate, 43, the new president and country head of the firm.
“We want to build (the institution) brick by brick, end to end...provide universal banking services to consumers,” said Nakhate in an interview. “We to want to enhance risk parameters, increase product penetration and offer a lot more in the large corporate space.”
It could be simple things such as an e-commerce platform or cash management system, she added.
Nakhate, who took over on 1 July, has joined at a time when a robust economy forecast to grow at 8.5% is prompting companies to raise capital for expansion and also chase merger and acquisition opportunities. Although this is creating growing business for investing banking firms, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has slipped a bit.
According to Dealogic data, Bank of America Merrill Lynch had an 8.8% share in the Indian investment banking market in 2008. That dipped to a low of 3.6% last year before inching back to 5.4% in 2010. Moreover, investment banking profits typically hostage to the vagaries of markets, firms such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch are looking to beef up their presence in the corporate banking segment. The firm wouldn’t disclose the break-up of revenues and earnings between its various segments.
Nakhate said she wanted to tap into the growing number of multinational companies that are entering India. However, the company will stay clear of the retail business and also not look to service the small and medium enterprises, she said.
“I am not saying we will not look into it; right now, we want to focus on larger corporates,” Nakhate said. The push towards a stronger corporate banking business was also part of Bank of America wanting to strengthen this business in the Asia-Pacific region, she added.
Nakhate will report to Brian Brille, president, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Asia-Pacific. A graduate of the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai, she worked for 18 years with Merrill Lynch and Co., rising to the head of global markets at the local unit before joining JPMorgan in April 2009. She takes over from Kevan Watts, who is retiring at the end of this month.