The head of Union Bank's wealth management business is making a major push to expand the enterprise, but he's not doing it alone.

Ever since Michael Feldman took over the Wealth Markets Group in June of 2015, he has reached out to other areas of the bank to coordinate how best to mutually drive business.

Union's regional bank structure makes such coordination possible, Feldman claims.

"We bring a team approach to ensure we have the right individuals who can help clients, whether within wealth markets or within the regional bank structure," Feldman says.

As head of the Wealth Markets Group, Feldman oversees Union's private bank as well as its brokerage unit, trust and estates services and HighMark Capital Management, the bank's asset management arm. He previously led Union's branch and private banking services for six years.

Like other banks, Union is looking to provide clients with integrated wealth management, lending and banking services, which Feldman sees as key to capturing restless clients eager to consolidate their banking relationships.

"Clients are looking for one institution that can provide a holistic value proposition and not have to intermediate these relationships through multiple different institutions," Feldman notes.

Michael Feldman, head of Union Bank's Wealth Markets Group
Michael Feldman, head of Union Bank's Wealth Markets Group, co-located private bankers and wealth advisers with portfolio managers and other experts in major metropolitan areas.

Co-locate private bankers and advisers
In a bid to attract clients and provide them with an integrated approach to managing their financial lives, Feldman has rolled out several initiatives. He co-located private bankers and wealth advisers with portfolio managers, trust and estate advisers and other experts in major metropolitan areas within Northern and Southern California and the Pacific Northwest, where Union operates. These "wealth hubs" were developed to help Union deliver "holistic wealth management services and products" to clients in their local markets, Feldman says.

He also has bulked up the adviser force. He expects to boost the number of private wealth advisers to 32 by year-end, double what it was in January. Union's private wealth advisers sit within the Private Wealth Management unit and engage teams of specialists in the areas of wealth planning, investments, risk management, trust and estate services and banking and credit. In short, they quarterback client services.

Feldman has also increased the number of financial advisers in the bank's brokerage division, adding 15 new advisers since the beginning of the year. He plans to add 15 more by the end of 2016, which would bring the total broker force to 130, Feldman says.

Robo platform on horizon
Lastly, Feldman has explored opportunities to increase the digital capabilities of the Wealth Markets Group and is actively looking into a robo platform. He expects the bank to decide on a robo platform provider this year, he says.

"Although our customers are going to research and do more research online about what our capabilities are, they're still doing face to face," Feldman says. "We need to make sure that we're complementing that and creating that digitally enabled experience for our clients the way they want to work with us."

Feldman is betting the initiatives will help him reach the ambitious growth goals he has set for the Wealth Markets Group. His goal? Growing the group's current $31 billion in assets under management to roughly $41 billion by 2017.

Read more: Union Bank bulks up private wealth management team

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