A survey released yesterday of the nation’s wealthiest individuals reveals that wealth management’s biggest, most powerful brands—including UBS, Wachovia, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs—have lost a lot of credibility with their target audience.
In March, The Luxury Institute, a New York-based research firm that tracks the opinions of the wealthiest 1 percent of American consumers, asked respondents to rate wealth management firms. The survey included 1,013 respondents over the age of 30, each with at least $2 million in investable assets.
Absent from the top half of the 35 ranked firms were some prominent—if bruised and battered—wealth management brands, including all of the wirehouse firms (Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, UBS, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley) and others like Bank of America and U.S. Trust. Those two firms, as well as UBS, Wachovia and Goldman Sachs all rated highly on last year’s survey but fell sharply this year.
Each firm received a Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) score based on answers to questions that factored in responses to questions in four main categories: “quality” (delivery of consistently superior products/services); “exclusivity” (products/services are unique); “social status” (product/service used by people admired and respected); and “self enhancement” (the brand makes the consumer “feel special” across all aspects of the customer experience).
The Top Ten firms, according to their LBSI scores, are:
1. Bessemer Trust (6.54)
2. La Salle Bank Private Wealth Management (5.89)
3. BB&T Wealth Management (5.86)
4. US Bank Private Client Group (5.86)
5. Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management (5.76)
6. JP Morgan Private Client Services (5.73)
7. Boston Private Bank and Trust (5.67)
8. Credit Suisse Private Client (5.65)
9. Northern Trust (5.63)
10. Wilmington Trust Wealth Advisor Services (5.57)