The nation's largest Korean-American bank has taken a shine to Cetera Financial Institutions.

Los Angeles-based Bank of Hope selected Cetera as its new third-party broker-dealer after a two-year relationship with another firm. It will look to Cetera to both grow its wealth management program and recruit new advisers capable of serving the bank's Korean-American clientele, the bank said.

Cetera headquarters
Cetera headquarters

"Bank of Hope is focused on significantly building up its wealth management program to become a truly open-architecture provider of comprehensive investment services to our community," Clem Shin, head of Hope Wealth Management, said in a statement. Shin noted that the bank particularly needed Cetera's help in identifying new adviser candidates for the West Coast, Washington, New York, New Jersey and Chicago.

The bank currently employs two advisers but it aims to grow that number to as many as 15 to 20 advisers over the next five years. The program has almost $55 million in assets under management, including approximately $30 million of client advisory assets, according to Cetera.

The bank lists financial planning as well as retirement, education and estate planning among the wealth management services it offers. It previously used LPL as its third-party broker-dealer.

"We are especially eager to introduce its clients to our outstanding platform of wealth management products and solutions, and to help the bank meaningfully increase its in-house corps of financial advisers and bring aboard talented individuals who understand the wealth management needs of the Korean-American community," Catherine Bonneau, CEO of Cetera Financial Institutions, said in a statement.

Bank of Hope has more than $13 billion in assets and over 80 branches, primarily on the East and West Coasts, according to Cetera. It was formed in July 2016 through the merger of BBCN and Wilshire Bank.

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