BofA to spin off $5 billion private equity unit

By Joe Rauch

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> plans to spin off its last large private equity fund, with more than $5 billion in assets, and has no plans to make new private equity investments, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank by assets, will spin off BAML Capital Partners into its own unnamed firm.

The firm would then manage the bank's private equity assets for a fee -- winding those positions down over time -- and could begin accepting outside investors.

The assets will remain on BofA's balance sheet until they are wound down.

Company spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said BofA determined the business was "not strategically critical to customers and our clients" and the decision was made to spin off the unit.

The spin-off is the latest in a series of moves by the bank to comply with the Volcker Rule, a part of the financial regulatory overhaul law passed in 2010 that limits proprietary trading, or investments by banks using their own capital. It also fits with Chief Executive Brian Moynihan's efforts to sell off extraneous business units.

In 2010, the bank spun off Banc of America Capital Investors, a $1.4 billion private equity group to form Ridgemont Equity Partners, under a similar structure.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)