BofA's Merrill Strategy Working, Barclays Sued

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Bank of America brokerage head John Thiel, who boosted incentives for financial advisers to steer clients to more of the lender’s products, said the firm’s strategy to garner more fees is taking hold.

Bloomberg reports that clients’ concerns about the so-called fiscal cliff helped increase fourth-quarter revenue as investors took gains ahead of higher tax rates, Thiel said Thursday in a memo to employees.

Profit in the Merrill Lynch brokerage more than doubled from a year earlier to $578m, while assets under management rose almost 10% to $698.1bn and related fees reached a record $1.6bn.

In the meantime, Reuters reports that Bank of America Brian Moynihan is known as a problem-fixer and cost-cutter and in his three years as the bank's CEO, he has had that reputation tested like never before.

Now, proof of his abilities is beginning to show. On Thursday, the bank said its mortgage lending volume was growing and expenses were falling in the unit that handles problem home loans. Both are early signs that the bank is finally moving past its disastrous 2008 purchase of subprime lender Countrywide Financial.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that Barclays was sued in Germany by investors who lost money in the $460m Ponzi-scheme fraud by Helmut Kiener’s K1 hedge fund.

About 150 suits over so-called X1 and K1 certificates were filed at courts in Frankfurt and Munich, Klaus Nieding, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an e-mailed statement. When issuing certificates on the underlying Kiener indexes, Barclays failed to properly review the K1 products, said Andreas Tilp, another lawyer working on the cases.

BofA Brokerage Chief Thiel Says Merrill Strategy Working

BofA's Moynihan, known for fixing and cutting, must now build

Barclays Is Sued in Germany Over Kiener’s K1 Fund Ponzi-Scheme

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