October 14, 2012 / 10:17 AM / 5 years ago

UniCredit hires ex-BofA Merrill banker for senior role

MILAN/DUBAI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by assets, said it has hired Waleed El-Amir, previously the Middle East and North Africa investment banking head for Bank of America, to head its funding and investment portfolio business globally.

El-Amir, a veteran Merrill Lynch banker, will replace Philipp Waldstein, who resigned from UniCredit early this year to join the asset management division of Munich Re.

As part of his move to UniCredit, El-Amir will relocate to Milan as the senior vice president at the bank’s strategic funding and investments business, the bank said on Sunday. His role is effective at end-October.

El-Amir resigned from Bank of America in May after leading that bank’s regional investment banking operations from Dubai since 2008. His departure was part of move which saw several senior BofA executives leave the bank.

At UniCredit, El-Amir will be responsible for all funding requirements of the bank in addition to certain strategic portfolio investments.

European banks are under pressure to boost liquidity and sell non-core assets in the wake of the region’s debt crisis, which has increased funding costs and bad loans.

UniCredit was forced to shore up its capital base with a 7.5 billion euro cash call in January - its third since 2008 - to meet tougher requirements set by the European Banking Authority.

Abu Dhabi’s state-owned investment firm Aabar is among the top shareholders in UniCredit since the rights sale with a 6.5 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data. Libya’s sovereign wealth fund owns a 4.6 percent stake. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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