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Bay Area investment bankers are seeking the personal touch.

In order to get closer to the entreprenuers fueling the technology gold rush, bankers are packing up their San Francisco quarters and moving to the Silicon Valley. And the exodus has hit one San Francisco building particularly hard — the Bank of America building at 555 California St. has seen several tenants leave in recent months, and others are rumored to follow.

In February, Banc of America Securities LLC relocated 60 investment bankers to Palo Alto. But 1,500 other employees remained at 555 California, many brokers and researchers among them.

Also partially relocating to Palo Alto is Salomon Smith Barney, which in June began moving its 90-employee technology investment from San Francisco. The company is keeping equity and sales employees in San Francisco.

All 60 investment bankers at Lehman Brothers this month moved to Menlo Park from San Francisco. Company analysts are now permitted to have offices in both locations. In October, the 650-employee Thomas Weisel Partners plans to move 13 employees into the same building as Lehman’s, and could move several dozen more in the next two years.

JP Morgan Securities, which is building a new 29,000 facility in Palo Alto, is rumored to be moving their entire technology business department of 125 bankers there from San Francisco next year.

Merrill Lynch & Co. first moved down to Palo Alto in 1996 and now has expansion plans that will nearly double their investment-banking office from 80 to 150.

Howard Berger, the building manager at 555 California, was in meetings Monday morning and unavailable for comment.

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