Bank of America Private Bank is looking to hire more advisers to cater to the ultra-wealthy with at least $3m to invest after adding 64% more households in 2019 to its list of clients.
By the end of this year, Bank of America Corp's private banking arm aims to double its adviser force from 2014 levels to 600 and expand to 40 markets from 20 in 2017.
"We've made a massive investment in the business from a technology standpoint, people and real estate," Katy Knox, president of Bank of America Private Bank, told Reuters. "Now, it's really making sure that our folks can hit the ground running."
Now, it’s really making sure that our folks can hit the ground running"
Bank of America's wealth management unit, which includes Merrill Lynch and its Private Bank, saw total client balances jump 16% from last year to $3trn. The unit's net income improved 7% from 2018 to nearly $4.3bn for 2019 on a 0.4% increase in revenues, which were $19.5bn.
Brian Moynihan, chief executive with Bank of America, also has plans to expand in the retail segment. "Our market share in consumer is probably 12%, 13%, 14%, depending on who counts . . . The reality is, you could double that. Other companies that you think might have big consumer markets share — the auto companies, the soft drink companies, the beer companies — they have massively more consumer share [than BofA]," he told the FT.
Overall, Bank of America profits for the fourth quarter of 2019 were $7bn, down 4% from a year ago. Earnings per share of $0.74, though, rose 6% and beat analysts' estimates. Revenues, however, weakened 1% year over to $22.5bn.
"In a steadily growing economy marked by solid client activity, our teammates produced another strong quarter and year, allowing us to increase investments in our customers, communities, and employees," CEO Brian Moynihan said in a statement.