Regions Financial (RF) has completed an extensive restructuring of its wealth management group. The Birmingham, Ala., regional banking company spent the last 15 months quietly consolidating all of its investment-related groups under one wealth management group.
Management says the restructuring, which included newly named team leaders, was a part of a larger effort to rebrand the business with existing customers after Region sold unit Morgan Keegan earlier this year.
"There may be a client that has their loans and deposits with Regions but their assets are managed at another firm," says Bill Ritter, the head of Regions Wealth Management Group. "There are opportunities to sell deeper in our existing customer base or cross-selling relationships."
Banks of varying sizes have expanded into wealth management, but most have only succeeded in being "mediocre," says Chris Marinac, an analyst at FIG Partners in Atlanta. Whether Regions is successful remains to be seen, but Marinac says he is encouraged by the decision to retool the business. "They certainly have a different focus now that Morgan Keegan is gone," he says. "At the end of the day, a relationship starts and ends with the bank, so I think there is a natural way to pick off business" for wealth management.
Most of the group's divisions - including trust services, private banking and asset management - had operated separately at Regions for years, making it difficult for the $122 billion-asset company because customers and employees often had to go through multiple points of contact.
"In the past, wealth management was somewhat a silo-ed business and that's what we're trying to avoid," says Ritter, whose first job out of college was with the legacy Regions in 1993. Following the restructuring, commercial bankers at each branch "have a single point of contact to refer customers to wealth management."
Regions also launched new web-based tools on its homepage for wealth management. Ritter says the company is targeting midsize clients that typically have personal assets of $2 million to $20 million. But they have plans to expand their base down to individuals with $100,000 in investments.
"We're not building this to go out and compete with the big banks," Ritter says. "That's why we're targeting the middle market."
Regions will also serve institutional clients and individuals through four main divisions within the consolidated group: Regions Private Wealth Management, Regions Institutional Services, Regions Investment Services and Regions Insurance Group. Most of the executives named to lead each division were at Regions previously.
Nick Stonestreet is leading the private wealth management division, which houses the former trust and private banking services. The division has more than $22 billion in assets under management. Regions named Ken Alderman to become the head of institutional Services and chairman of another unit Regions Investment Management. Jim Nonnengard will lead investment services, and Curren Coco is heading the insurance group. Mike Daniel was named chief operating officer of the entire wealth management group.
Regions said in April that it had hired Anne Copeland from Wells Fargo's Wealth Management Group to manage the group's product and client experience operations.
Ritter is the one who sticks out from the group, having only worked on the commercial banking side previously. He is well-versed in integration, helping Regions form a commercial team after it bought AmSouth in 2006.
"The idea was to bring this wealth management team together and to integrate it better than we have in the past," Ritter says. "I know Regions, I know the markets we serve .and I know how best to integrate wealth management into those services."
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