Strategy

Expansion Is Top Priority For BNY Mellon Wealth Management

Charles Paikert, Family Wealth Report, Editor, New York, 4 February 2010

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Full-throttled expansion is at the top of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s agenda this year.

Full-throttled expansion is at the top of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s agenda this year.

The bank unit, which has around $154 billion in assets under management, plans to increase its roster of sales staff by around 20 per cent, adding 20 to 25 new salespeople to its existing sales force of 110 people, said chief executive officer David Lamere in an exclusive interview with Family Wealth Report.

BNY Mellon also plans to hire lenders and business development staff for its private banking business and open up at least two new offices this year, including one in Dallas.

After spending the last two years concentrating on integrating the businesses of Bank of New York and Mellon, the wealth management unit will be looking to make acquisitions, Mr Lamere said, following the historically aggressive buying precedent set by Mellon in the last decade.

“We’re assembling resources and we’re eager to repeat the great things we’ve done in the past,” he said.

BNY Mellon also wants to boost its market share in New York.

Doris Meister was named president of the tri-state region last year, and the New York office will be adding staff “in all disciplines” this year, Mr Lamere said, including sales, banking and portfolio management.

To date, the bank’s wealth management business “is not as well understood” in New York as it should be, according to Boston-based Mr Lamere, and needs to be more pro-active this year to raise awareness.

To do that, he said he hopes to leverage BNY Mellon’s “huge corporate footprint” and “deep and lasting relationships” in the market.

BNY Mellon also needs to raise its visibility in northern California, Mr Lamere added.

Two bright spots for the unit are its growing presence in the southeast and its family office business targeting families with at least $100 million, which Mr Lamere said is the fastest-growing part of the business.

The family office division has a small office in London, and BNY Mellon is considering opening offices in Europe on a “country-specific” basis, Mr Lamere said.

Industry observers say BNY Mellon was a major beneficiary of the financial crisis as wealthy clients sought safety and high quality.

But going forward, those attributes are “not enough to bring in new business,” Mr Lamere said, adding that there is too much inertia, skepticism and negative feeling towards financial institutions.

“We have to talk more about what the client needs and not the firm’s capabilities,” he said. “We think the value of an organization will rest on its ability to understand the client and focus the conversation on the client, and not itself.”

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