Southern California is expansive, diverse and home to a big concentration of wealthy entrepreneurs and other high-net-worth individuals.

All of this makes it a tantalizing market for BNY Mellon Wealth Management, even if the wealthy in the region have an affinity for working with wirehouse brokers.

The company said it is committed to bringing its brand of wealth management services, which appeal more to ‘old money’ clients, to affluent investors from the San Fernando Valley to Santa Barbara.

The New York-based wealth manager, a division of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. [BK], hired two professionals for its Los Angeles operations: Spencer Gould, as a senior director and Kimberlea Archer, as a director of business development. Gould, a managing director for Fiduciary Trust Co. International, has more than 25 years of banking, trust and investment experience. Archer was a vice president and private client advisor for U.S. Trust, Bank of America’s [BAC] wealth management business. 

Gould and Archer are the latest salvo in BNY Mellon’s bid to provide wealth management services in Los Angeles and Southern California. In the last eight months, it has hired four and promoted five others in the market. Two more new hires are in the pipeline, according to Tracy Nickl, a managing director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s southern California region. The company is broadly focused on Southern California, including Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area, the San Fernando Valley extending down to San Diego, and up to Santa Barbara, Nickl said.

With almost a million households with investable assets of $1 million or more, Southern California has the largest concentration of wealthy households in the state, according to 2008 research from TNS, a global research firm based in London.

With such a vast territory, and an RIA model that has been slow to take hold in the area, BNY Mellon Wealth Management should have a real shot at gaining some market share, according to Chip Roame, managing principal of Tiburon Strategic Advisors, based in Tiburon, Calif.

“L.A. is a very big market with varying geographical and industry niches,” Roame said. Aside from the entertainment industry, the aerospace industry has a huge presence near the coastal cities, Roame said. According to Manta, the web-based information guide on small businesses, there are about 858 aerospace-related companies in California. 

BNY Mellon also has the advantage of being owned by a parent bank whose name was not sullied during the recent economic downturn, according to William Willis, president and chief executive officer of Willis Consulting, an executive search firm in Palos Verdes, Calif. BNY Mellon has not saturated the area, with a lot of retail bank branches, he said. That helps send a clear message to investors that they are more focused on private banking and other wealth management services.

And it helps reinforce BNY Mellon’s image as a grade-A operator, unlike other large banks in the area, Roame said. “Bank of America and Wells Fargo have huge retail branch footprints in California,” he said. “Sure they have private banking, but they do not have an image of exclusivity here.”


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