Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York has hired David P. Akellian as a managing director and the head of investment manager client services in its securities services division.

He was the head of investment management services at Pershing, the financial services division of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. He had worked at DLJ for 16 years.

At Merrill, Mr. Akellian is responsible for building the firm’s clearing, settlement, custody, and financing business with mutual funds, investment managers, insurance companies, and plan sponsors. He reports to Richard Dunn, president and chief executive officer of Merrill’s securities services division.

Merrill has also hired George W. Bilicic Jr. as a managing director in charge of mergers and acquisitions in the company’s utilities and power sector.

He reports to Steven Baronoff and Dan Dickinson, co-heads of mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Bilicic was a partner at the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he was in charge of the utilities and power practice. He has 10 years of M&A experience.

Banc of America Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C., has hired Ali Agha as a principal and equity research analyst in the energy group.He is responsible for covering distributed energy and independent power producer companies and is based in New York.

He was a research analyst covering the independent power and energy technology sector at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities, where he worked for nine years.

Banc of America Securities is the investment bank and brokerage subsidiary of Bank of America Corp. of Charlotte.

WESTUnion Bank of California in San Francisco has put another layer of management between executive vice president Ronald Kendrick, who was promoted to the newly created post of head of branch banking operations in October, and the branches.

Senior vice presidents Joseph Benoit, Ronald E. Oliveira, and George A. Ramirez have been named to lead retail branch operations in various areas.

Mr. Benoit, 46, will head the San Diego, Inland Empire, and southern Orange County branches.

He had been the division manager of Southern California commercial banking since 1998. Before that he had been in charge of business banking in San Diego and the Inland Empire area. He had joined the bank in 1992 as the manager of its Golden Triangle office in San Diego.

Mr. Oliveira, 45, will head the retail branches in Central and Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and Saipan.

He had been the division manager responsible for agribusiness and commercial lending in the Central Valley region. Before that he had been the deputy manager for the region. He had joined the bank in 1981 as an agribusiness product manager.

Mr. Ramirez, 41, will oversee the Los Angeles and Orange County branches.

He had been the bank’s director of sales since 1998. Before that he had managed its emerging markets unit, where he developed multicultural advertising and marketing strategies. Still earlier he had been the division manager for Central California. He had joined the bank in 1986 as a financial services officer.

Union Bank has $33.7 billion of assets and is mostly owned by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd.

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