U.S. wealth advisors are in for some competition, if BNP Paribas has anything to say about it. France’s largest bank intends to look outside Europe for growth, and has revealed a five-year plan to seek that growth in broadening the amount of wealth management services it provides for the affluent in the U.S.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that while BNP Paribas suffered in 2011 due to a paucity of liquidity in U.S. dollars and losses on Greek debt and divested of some U.S. assets to lower short-term dollar funding requirements, it has plans to recoup lost ground by expanding its presence in the U.S. among the affluent.
Sofia Merlo, co-head of wealth management at the Paris-based bank, said in the report that BNP Paribas has combined trust, brokerage and private banking services at its Bank of the West unit, which it took control of in 2001, as it seeks to manage more money for wealthy people in the U.S.
John Bahnken, head of wealth management at the unit, said that Bank of the West, which opened a flagship office in San Francisco’s financial district on Sept. 5, manages about $10 billion, more than two thirds of which is in brokerage accounts. In the report, Bahnken was quoted saying that wealth management has “turned into a significant positive story.”