NEW YORK -- An eight-year bull market in stocks helped create
than 1.1 million new millionaires in the United States, and
securities firms are trying to lure their business by pampering them
with special high-net worth services.
At firms such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley
Dean Witter, wealthy investors have access to private equity
transactions, sophisticated hedging techniques and every security
under the sun.
Thomas C. Quick, president of the Quick & Reilly/Fleet Securities
discount brokerage, is a Goldman client. "When you think of all we
are doing in running a business, even though it happens to be an
investment business, having the time to invest is really an issue,"
In February, Quick received a profit of about $47 million,
according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents, from the
sale of Quick & Reilly Group to Fleet Financial Group of Boston.
"It's in my best interest to let someone who has the time,
experience and resources maximize my dollars," said Quick.
Twenty years ago, the wealthy clients of Merrill or Goldman were
as interested in the red carpet treatment -- restaurant dinners and
Broadway theater tickets on their brokers -- as the financial
services. Those perks are still available, although today's clients
have less free time. Many are entrepreneurs who took their companies
public or executives with stock option plans.
Goldman Sachs has about 360 professionals who cater to people with
at least $5 million in liquid assets. David Henle, co-head of the
firm's private client service, said that while there isn't a hard-
and-fast rule about the minimum, Goldman does turn people away.
Merrill's private advisory services are generally used by people
with $10 million or more in assets. Those with less can also use
them, by asking their broker which services might be appropriate.
For Michael Sullivan, a broker who heads a 17-person team in New
that works with wealthy clients, the average is $50 million in
At Goldman, four- or five-member teams -- including two or more
senior brokers, an analyst and assistants -- typically manage
A key part of the high-net worth business is service.
"Our clients don't want to be put on hold and don't want someone
to get back to them 48 hours later," said Linda Daines, a senior
Goldman broker. Though she typically works from 7 a.m. to about 7
p.m., Daines also takes client calls at home, even on weekends.
In addition to attentive service and perks -- Merrill's high-net
worth brokers will provide front-row tickets to a Knicks basketball
game or hard-to-get reservations at hot New York restaurants --
customers have access to special investments and advice. …