As of early 2015, Bina Kalola filled two roles at Bank of America Merrill Lynch: head of global e-trading market structure strategy (ranking No. 16 on Institutional Investors 2015 Trading Technology 40) and head of global equities strategic direct investments. Since then she has off-loaded market structure and is now fully engaged in the corporate venture capital function, but with a longer title. Were looking at all the start-up and early-stage companies that are focused on all of our institutional businesses, says Kalola, 47, the New Yorkbased head of financial technology investments for global banking and markets. Managing BofA Merrills stakes in such companies as Bats Global Markets, Markit (now IHS Markit), and Tradeweb Markets is in keeping with Kalolas lifelong interest in entrepreneurship and technological innovation. All investments have to have a strategic tie back to the bank. The head of commercial banking may want us to look at artificial intelligence for his group, she explains. Once an investment prospect is identified, Kalola guides it into the bank and informs all who might benefit from an introduction to it. The top technologies of interest these days, she says, are big data and analytics, including artificial intelligence. Also registering are natural-language processing, speech recognition, and blockchain. Kalola is or has been on boards of such BofA Merrill Lynch investments as messaging platform Symphony Communication Services, data analytics company Context Relevant, and Goldman Sachs Group trading technology spin-off REDI Holdings, which Thomson Reuters is acquiring. Kalola, a 1991 Barnard College graduate (with a BA in global economics), earned a JD from Georgetown University and went into corporate law. After co-founding a dot-com start-up, she joined Merrill Lynch & Co. in 2001 as an assistant general counsel responsible for M&A and structuring joint ventures.
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