The Global Wealth and Investment Management (GWIM) arm of Bank of America has registered a 47% surge in Q4 net income, with $22bn in client inflows during the quarter.

Key GWIM metrics

The division’s net income for the three-month-period ending 31 December 2021 stood at $1.22bn, versus $834m in Q4 2020.

Total revenue, net of interest expense, increased 16% to $5.4bn from $4.68bn over this period, of which Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management contributed $4.53bn with the rest coming from Bank of America Private Bank.

The growth was attributed to higher asset management as well as brokerage fees.

Noninterest expense rose 8% year-on-year to $3.8bn.

Total client balances were $3.8trn in Q4 2021, up 15% from the previous year, of which Merrill Lynch contributed $3.2trn.  

Assets under management (AuM) stood at $1.6trn at the end of December 2021, a 16% increase from the prior year. At Merrill Lynch, AuM increased 17% year-on-year to $1.3trn.

The rise was driven by $149bn in client inflows in 2021.       

Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said: “Wealth Management had record client flows and the strongest client acquisition numbers since before the pandemic.

“Investment Banking had its best year ever and Global Markets had its highest sales and trading revenue in a decade, led by record Equities performance as we invested in the business.”

On the flip side, the total number of wealth advisers dipped to 18,846 at the end of December, from 20,103 in the prior year.

This was said to be largely due to a 18-month halt in hiring trainees during the pandemic.

Group shines

At a group level, the bank’s profit surged 28% to $7.01bn while revenues increased 10% to $22.17bn.

The bank released also $851m in loan loss reserves in the quarter as its credit quality improved.