Mary Ann Deignan leaves Bank of America

The Lazard LLC offices at 50 Stratton Street in London, Thursday, June 17, 2004. Lazard LLC, the world's largest closely held investment bank, is considering an initial public offering after being approached by five investment banks about the potential structure of such a transaction, two people familiar with the matter said. Photographer:Randall Quan/Bloomberg News.©Bloomberg

One of Wall Street’s most senior female bankers has departed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to join a team at Lazard advising companies on how to defeat shareholder activists, in the latest example of dealmakers at big banks leaving for boutique rivals.

Mary Ann Deignan, who has served as BofA’s co-head of global equity capital markets since 2014, focusing on US company initial public offerings, resigned from the bank last week, according to people familiar with the matter.


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At Lazard she will join the boutique investment advisory firm’s corporate preparedness unit, which specialises in defences against hostile takeovers and activists.

BofA confirmed Ms Deignan was leaving and that Craig Coben, who was appointed alongside Ms Deignan two years ago and has been focused on deals outside the US, would become the sole head of the BofA ECM team.

Lazard could not be reached for comment.

Seasoned bank dealmakers have been increasingly jumping ship to launch or join boutique advisers, where they can earn bigger fees on deals due to less cumbersome overheads, or can increase their focus on individual clients.

In July Jake Donovan, one of JPMorgan’s most senior investment bankers left a role at the helm of industries coverage to head the European business of LionTree, the telecoms and media-focused boutique adviser.

So far this year BofA has ranked sixth in fees earned from IPOs and other share sales, with a 4.8 per cent market share, according to Dealogic data.

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