BNP Paribas has taken the unusual step of
naming co-heads to take over the running of the world’s seventh
largest wealth management business.

Vincent Lecomte and Sofia Merlo are to lead
BNP Paribas’ wealth management business, reporting to Jacques
d’Estais, the bank’s deputy chief operating officer.

This makes Merlo only the second female to
lead one of the world’s top ten wealth managers.

Citi Private Bank’s Jane Fraser is currently
the only other female head of a major wealth management business
since Sallie Krawcheck left BofA Merrill Lynch earlier this


Joint roles ‘unusual’

Julie Beuter, a spokeswoman for BNP Paribas,
agreed that it was unusual to appoint two people as head of the
wealth management business.

Explaining the strategy behind the decision,
Beuter said that because the wealth management arm of BNP Paribas
collaborates with a number of the bank’s other businesses, having
two people in charge was a good business model.

Bueter added that the different
responsibilities for Merlo and Lacomte are currently not defined
but their exact roles will be decided in January.

Merlo was formerly the head of BNP Paribas’
French private bank while Lecomte was BNP Paribas Wealth
Management’s chief operating officer.