* Move is latest in hiring tug-of-war between the two banks
* 19-year UBS veteran tasked with boosting flagging BofA Asia M&A
* UBS ranked 5th in Asia-Pac M&A versus BofA 9th
By Lawrence White
HONG KONG, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch has poached UBS’s Asia mergers-and-acquisitions head Stephen Gore to helm its M&A unit for Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, two sources said, the latest of several hirings the banks have made from each other.
UBS has the more successful mergers franchise in the region, league table data show, and the loss of Gore will deal a blow to its standing. The 19-year UBS veteran’s move marks yet another high-profile departure from the Swiss bank to its American rival since last year.
A spokesman for UBS confirmed that Gore had left the bank, but could not immediately say if his successor has been identified.
Bank of America declined to comment, while Gore could not be reached for comment.
Recent arrivals at Bank of America include its Asia president Matthew Koder, who joined from UBS last year, and Alex Wilmott-Sitwell, who in April made the same switch to be the U.S. bank’s president of Europe and emerging markets ex-Asia.
The traffic between the banks has not all been one-way, with Bank of America losing top Europe dealmaker Andrea Orcel to UBS in March. Orcel joined UBS as co-head of its investment bank.
Gore replaces David Killingback, whom Bank of America named in an internal memo as recently as January 11 as its new Asia Pacific ex-Japan M&A head. Killingback was based in Australia at the time of the announcement, and his promotion followed the bank’s laying off of M&A co-head Michael Cho on January 9th.
Killingback will remain in Australia after electing not to relocate to Hong Kong with his family, according to a source with knowledge of the matter who did not want to be named because the bank has not officially announced the arrangements.
Killingback will stay in Australia covering the consumer, media and retail sectors, the source said.
Gore headed UBS’s financial sponsors coverage in Asia from 2007 to April 2009, when he took over as Asia M&A head to replace the promoted Matthew Hanning.
UBS has also lost some senior bankers in Asia to other rivals recently, including head of oil and gas Jorge Martinez, who left the Swiss bank to join HSBC, and Ren Wang, the joint head of financial institutions group, who quit to join Jefferies earlier this year.
UBS stood at No.5 in the Asia-Pacific ex-Japan M&A league table for the year to date, according to Thomson Reuters data, having worked on 23 deals, up from No. 7 at the same time last year.
Bank of America, on the other, has slipped to No. 9 this year, falling from No. 4 at the same time last year.