(Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which has suffered a wave of senior defections to rival UBS in recent weeks, hit back by hiring one of the Swiss bank's top executives, Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, on Wednesday.

Wilmot-Sitwell's appointment as president of Europe and Emerging Markets, excluding Asia, at BofA Merrill came barely a month after the U.S. firm lost dealmaker Andrea Orcel to UBS, which he will be joining as co-head of the investment bank.

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