Northern Trust, one of the biggest independent trust and wealth management service providers, is actively angling for the business of wealthy non-traditional families.
The new practice area will focus on gay and lesbian couples and their unique planning needs, which can range from securing both partners' power of attorney and medical attorney in states that do not recognize their relationships to ensuring that the couple receives all exemptions they qualify to receive.
Since the initiative explicitly concentrates on the high-net-worth market, it is likely that it will be a competitive differentiator rather than a major business area for the bank, which already has about $150 billion in AUM and another $350 billion in assets under custody.
As a differentiator, it may be a smart move. The planning environment for gay and lesbian couples is just different enough that a firm could capture these clients simply be advertising its expertise as well as its sensitivity to their needs.