Magazine article American Banker

Northern Trust Taking Low-Key Approach to Reach Calif.'s Rich

Magazine article American Banker

Northern Trust Taking Low-Key Approach to Reach Calif.'s Rich

Article excerpt


Northern Trust Corp. is refocusing its approach to California's coveted and fast-growing high-net-worth market.

The Chicago-based company, which established a beachhead in the Golden State in 1988, recently divided its operations there into four regions: the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and the Los Angeles area, where it keeps its California headquarters. The goal is to distribute authority among newly appointed local presidents and to personalize the services of a $30.2 billion-asset banking company located halfway across the country.

"Because our business is so personal, our challenge is to bring all of the resources that flow from our organization down to the local level," said John N. Iwanicki, president for the San Francisco region. "We are trying to produce something local in character and northern in culture."

Mr. Iwanicki, who was tapped for his regional post last month, said the San Francisco area is brimming with opportunity. The targeted high-net-worth client generally has $1 million of investable assets and at least $250,000 of annual income, Mr. Iwanicki said. At least 50,000 people in his region fit this description, he said.

Nationwide, Northern Trust is looking to establish branches close to concentrations of millionaires. To that end, it recently opened a branch in Mill Valley, just north of San Francisco, bringing its California branch total to 11 (out of 71 nationwide). Judging from the amount of wealth in California, there is room for more locations. An article in June's Worth magazine said 13 of the 20 richest towns in the nation, based on median home price, are in California. Seven are in or near the Bay Area.

"Our strategic goal is to be within a 20-minute drive of 40% of the millionaires in the United States; so far, we're somewhere around 20% of them," said Mr. …

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