Bank of America ( BAC) will lay off several hundred workers as it merges two units that serve wealthy individuals, according to a staff memo cited in a news report Thursday. BofA's Premier Banking unit will be folded into Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, with BofA advisers playing second string to Merrill's, according to the Wall Street Journal. The role of "client manager" at Premier Banking will be relinquished to become "banking specialists," in Merrill parlance. Those specialists will assist a combined 18,000 financial advisers, 16,000 of whom came from Merrill lynch. The merged enterprise will target "mass affluent" clients with $100,000 to $3 million in assets. Changes will not affect BofA's U.S. Trust division, which also caters to wealthier patrons.