BofA's Private Bank Goes On Hiring Binge To Try And Rope In New Wealthy Clients

Bank of America’s private bank, formerly known as U.S. Trust, is seeking to serve more wealthy clients and, as a result, is planning a 35% increase to its adviser base, according to Bloomberg.

The division of the bank is slated to reach 600 client advisers by the end of next year, which is up from 445 in May. This would also be double the number of client advisers the bank had in May 2014.

Bank of America is among the biggest banks that are ramping up efforts to manage wealth: a business that offers exorbitant fees and doesn’t require the capital that trading units require. More established banks and firms are also seeing competition from start up rivals and firms that offer advisers the chance to go out on their own.

Bank of America's hiring spree comes at the same time that the company's private bank is expanding into cities like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. This expansion will put the bank in 40 markets by the end of this year, up from 24 markets in the fourth quarter of 2017. The private banking unit is also adding to its presence in places like Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and Florida.

Katy Knox, president of Bank of America Private Bank said: 

“We see significant opportunity for growth through new client relationships, doing more with our existing clients and expanding into new markets where traditionally we have not had a presence.”

The private bank posted revenue of $855 million in the first quarter, which was down 0.6% from the prior year. In 2018, revenue with the private bank totaled $3.4 billion, which was up 4.2% from the prior year.

The hiring isn't only restricted to the private bank, either. The company is also recruiting dealmakers, business bankers, financial advisors and consumer bankers in low and moderate income areas.

Knox continued: 

“One of our true strengths is our ability to bring together highly specialized teams that can handle a range of services, including investment management, trusts, estate planning, banking and philanthropy."

Knox is putting a priority on referrals between the private bank and other businesses, which were up 34% from the year prior in the first quarter.