First Republic Bank continued its expansion Monday in Los Angeles, one of its key markets, with the hiring of three executive from City National Bank .

First Republic, which is part of Bank of America Corp. [BAC], announced that three senior investment professionals have joined First Republic Private Wealth Management in Los Angeles.

The new hires, who are members of First Republic Investment Management, include Pamela Bennett, a managing director, Barbara Bruser, a managing director and portfolio manger, and Rod Olea, a managing director and fixed-income portfolio manager.

First Republic Private Wealth Management provides customized wealth management solutions, including trust, investment management and brokerage services, to high net worth individuals and families, foundations, endowments, non-profits, and institutions.

Bennett worked for City National in Los Angeles for the past eight years, most recently as a senior vice president and private client advisor managing significant client relationships. Bruser worked for City National for the past eight years, most recently as a senior vice president and director of equities, where she led the portfolio management team using quantitative investment disciplines and multi-asset strategies. Earlier in her career, Bruser worked for Bank of America, Wells Fargo and RCM Capital Management.

Olea worked for City National in Los Angeles for the past 16 years, most recently as a senior vice president and director of fixed income, where he led the team in creating a disciplined investment process and managing taxable and tax-advantaged fixed-income portfolios and bond selection strategies.

“Rod Olea, Pamela Bennett and Barbara Bruser are consummate investment management professionals whose leadership and expertise is respected throughout Southern California,” said Katherine August-deWilde, First Republic's president. “The addition of three senior investment professionals in Los Angeles is part of an expansion of our wealth management capabilities in one of our key markets. Rod, Pamela and Barbara will help meet the growing demand for wealth management services from First Republic clients, and all three share our commitment to exceptional client service.”

Olea, Bennett, and Bruser, who will be located in First Republic's Century City office, will work with clients to provide customized investment portfolios, which utilize both traditional equity and fixed-income portfolio management and may employ carefully screened outside managers for equity, fixed income, and alternative investments.

Over the past few months, First Republic has made hires in Boston, Portland, Ore., and Santa Barbara, Calif. Last month, it hired Jim Fletcher, a portfolio manager with more than 25 years of experience, to join First Republic Private Wealth Management in Newport Beach. ()

First Republic started as an independent bank in 1985 before being bought in 2007 by Merrill Lynch for $1.7 billion. When Bank of America bought Merrill, First Republic was part of the package deal. In October, BofA agreed to sell First Republic to Colony Capital and General Atlantic, two private equity firms, which own just under 50% of the bank, and a group of other investors, including the bank’s chairman, James H. Herbert, and chief operating officer, Katherine August-deWilde. The terms of the deal were not disclosed though word on the Street is that the transaction was valued at $1 billion. More importantly, the deal allows First Republic to be independent once again. The transaction hasn't been completed yet.

First Republic has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Boston, Greenwich and New York City. 



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