Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 5, Bank of America's Anne Finucane
Vice Chairman, Bank of America
As political talks over Brexit drag on, large global banks have been preparing for the day when the U.K. is no longer part of the European Union.
At Bank of America, much of that mammoth job has fallen to Anne Finucane.
She set up BofA’s European headquarters in two new locations, with banking going to Dublin and its broker-dealer going to Paris. Both had previously been based in London.
The transition is estimated to have cost the company $400 million.
Following the financial crisis, BofA reportedly pulled assets out of its Dublin subsidiary and moved them to London at the behest of U.K. regulators. So Brexit sparked a reversal.
“Dublin is our headquarters for our European bank now, full stop,” Finucane said at a conference in February. “There isn’t a return. That bridge has been pulled up.”
BofA’s vice chairman since July 2015, Finucane took on the additional title of chairman for its Irish entity — known officially as Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe — late last year. This role gives her responsibility for the European growth strategy and oversight of more than €50 billion in assets and 4,000 employees.
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Her duties have included engaging with financial regulators all over Europe, with more of that to come. The European Central Bank said earlier this year that in an effort to curtail risk, it would conduct an in-depth review of the balance sheets of large banks that were moving operations out of the U.K.
Finucane started her banking career at a BofA predecessor 24 years ago. Prior to that, she held jobs in public relations, advertising and even broadcasting. One important early career lesson was that she did not have to know everything.
“The most important skills are a desire and willingness to constantly learn, and the hard work to back it up,” she said. “This realization set me on the course to be a lifelong learner.”