The year is starting out on a competitive note as private banks staff up to court ultra-wealthy clients. Whether these efforts do much more than frustrate each other remains to be seen.
Despite its elite reputation, reports indicate that BNY Mellon is only now officially creating a family wealth team focused on extremely high-end business.
Known staff on the once-informal squad are being pulled in from the bank's portfolio management operation. So far the roster is at about a half dozen people with the big roll-out looking likely around March.
BNY Mellon is fighting some of Wall Street's legendary white-glove names for private banking clients. With HSBC retreating from view in elite New York circles, other banks like JPMorgan are aggressively expanding.
And naturally, the more fiercely these banks fight for assets, the more competition full-service independent advisors have when it comes to winning new prospects, much less retaining existing clients.
BNY Mellon may not emerge as a serious player in this market segment, but JPM, Citigroup and others need to be watched carefully.