Magazine article American Banker

Wealth Unit Fills Gap Clients Saw at Piper Jaffray

Magazine article American Banker

Wealth Unit Fills Gap Clients Saw at Piper Jaffray

Article excerpt

Piper Jaffray & Co. says it started a wealth management group last week to give itself a component lacking at the Minneapolis securities firm since it was spun off by U.S. Bancorp two years ago.

The wealth management unit, whose target market is individual investors with at least $5 million of assets, is to offer specialized services including financial planning, philanthropic services, insurance services, estate planning, and wealth transfer.

Bill Garrison, the group's director, said Thursday that Piper is looking to "beef up" its service offerings to complement its investment consulting capabilities.

"The bank had a lot of capabilities that we took for granted," Mr. Garrison said. "They had their private banking area, which was really similar to what we are looking to offer here."

Piper's strength since it was split off from U.S. Bancorp in February 2003 has been investment consulting, he said. The spinoff came five years after the Minneapolis banking company had bought Piper for $730 million.

Mr. Garrison said Piper did a client survey in late 2003 that found investments ranking behind estate planning, wealth transfer, and retirement planning among investors' concerns. Piper had to adjust, he said, so that the company would not be satisfied just providing investment services.

To gain wallet share, it must become a wealth manager rather than just another investment consulting firm, he said.

"We want to solidify our relationships to help us retain our customers," he said. "We want to become their primary adviser. We want to be able to handle all of their needs so that they don't have to go to a lot of different people for all of the things they need."

"All of these investment services are intertwined," he added. "We want to help tie them together."

The transition from asset management to wealth management is a consistent theme in the investment industry in recent years. …

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