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Investment Firms, Banks Compete for Clients in High Net Worth Households, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Focusing on financial advice and asset management is one way for financial firms to boost income.  In particular, many investment banks and commercial banks target high net worth individuals.  Wealthy clients, specifically those with multimillion-dollar net worth, can provide a steady source of fees and income to asset managers.  More important than total net worth, however, is the dollar amount available for investment.  Most prized, among investment firms, are clients with $10 million or more in assets that are available for investment management.
Affluent households are in such demand that competition for the management of their assets is fierce.  Customer goals may include lower management fees, greater liquidity, less risk in their portfolios or better communication from their managers.
Capgemini reported global, high net worth individuals (HNWIs), those with $1 million or more in investible assets, in 2021 rose to 22.37 million people.  In the U.S., the HNWI population in 2021 reached 7.46 million. Japan’s count came in second, with 3.65 million, and Germany, with 1.63 million, was third.  Over the past few decades, the wealthy population segment has been growing rapidly in nations like China and India.  
The provision of financial services to the high-wealth market is spread among the biggest stock brokerage firms, along with the “private banking” units at the largest banks, such as Citibank and Wells Fargo.  Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch gave it a leg up in this competition.  In addition, this market is served by trust companies, boutique investment firms and financial advisor offices.
More and more investors are choosing to work with financial planners and advisors rather than stockbrokers.  Brokers are fighting back with new online services and in-office staff geared specifically toward the management of personal investment accounts.  The largest banks have created wealth planning centers and private banking offices around the U.S. that focus on trusts, personal financial services and investments for upper-end families.  Hundreds of specially trained advisors to the wealthy now work in such offices.
Meanwhile, investment firms have created special training requirements for top investment advisors who want to focus on the wealthiest households.  This elite group of advisors has the opportunity to earn very substantial annual fees based on the total dollar value of assets under management.

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