The formation of private wealth groups is continuing as a trend in the brokerage world, and the most recent additions are UBS Securities and Wachovia. Both companies have announced strategies that take aim at a highly specialized, high-income class of investors, similar to what other firms have done in recent years.
UBS has formed a Private Wealth Services group, aiming at investors with at least $25 million. It is co-headed by Michael Schweitzer and Anthony DeChellis, both of whom were recently recruited from Merrill Lynch. They report to Jamie Price, executive vice president at UBS.
Meanwhile, Wachovia recently announced that they were unveiling a segmentation strategy, one that was first launched in the last couple of years by competitors such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Deborah Shore was named director of market segmentation; she had been formerly a wealth management director in McLean, Va., at the firm.
These moves come as many firms are making changes to their private wealth groups. Merrill Lynch currently has four separate offices in major cities in the U.S., where private wealth managers work separately from the other brokerage offices, and they plan to open several more. Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, has broken down some of the barriers between its private wealth group and the rest of its brokerage force in recent months.
Globally, the universe of ultra-high-net-worth individuals is a rarified air to travel in. According to the Merrill Lynch/Cap Gemini World Wealth Report 2002, less than 1 percent of the 7.3 million high-net-worth individuals can be described as “ultra high-net-worth,” those with more than $30 million in assets.