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Bank of America targets wealthiest clients with more advisers

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Bank of America Corp's US Trust business plans to add more than 100 financial advisers who cater to the super-rich as part of its strategy to grow wealth-management revenue, a US Trust executive said on Tuesday.

[NEW YORK] Bank of America Corp's US Trust business plans to add more than 100 financial advisers who cater to the super-rich as part of its strategy to grow wealth-management revenue, a US Trust executive said on Tuesday.

The number of private client advisers will rise to more than 450 from 323 over the next three years, Keith Banks, president of US Trust said at a financial services conference in New York.

The move is the latest indication that big banks are emphasising wealth management as a strategy to grow revenue while putting relatively little capital at risk, and the number of financial advisers at US Trust is already at an all-time high.

The growth will come from new hires and an internal training program, Banks said. US Trust also plans to hire more portfolio managers and trust officers to support the advisers, he added.

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US Trust clients typically have assets of at least US$3 million, according to the joint presentation by Banks and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management head John Thiel.

Despite growing competition, banks continue to cite demographic trends to justify their emphasis on wealth management.

Wells Fargo & Co, Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG are among those competing with Bank of America for talent and customers in US wealth management.

Wealth and investment management generated US$4.4 billion in first quarter revenue for Bank of America, 21 per cent of the total. Bank of America oversees US$2.5 trillion in total assets, including US$390 billion at US Trust.

REUTERS

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