Bank of America Corporation has completed its purchase of Merrill Lynch.

“We created this new organization because we believe that wealth management and corporate and investment banking represent significant growth opportunities, especially when combined with our leading capabilities in consumer and commercial banking,” says Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis.

Bank of America says that it now has the largest wealth management business in the world with some 20,000 financial advisors (more than 16,000 of which are with Merrill) and more than $2 trillion in client assets. Global investment management capabilities include roughly 50 percent ownership in BlackRock Inc., which at September 30 had $1.26 trillion in assets under management. Bank of America had $564 billion in assets under management in the same period.

As previously announced, Bank of America expects to achieve $7 billion in pre-tax expense savings, fully realized by 2012.

On January 2, after the merger was completed, B of A’s shares traded up 0.25 or 1.78 percent to 14.33. In 2008, its shares traded between 10 and 45.