Northern Trust, Shunning Mergers, Stays True to Roots
Wall Street Journal (10/09/00) Vol. 104, No. 40 p.B6; Merrick, Amy

William Osborn, chief executive of Northern Trust, indicates that his company's strategy of acquiring customers upset by their bank's consolidation will continue as it opens Northeast offices in the wake of J.P. Morgan's merger with Chase Manhattan. The fact that the amount of affluent people is increasing disproportionately, according to Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Michael Mayo, should sustain Northern Trust's growth as a provider of wealth management services. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and the Goldman Sachs Group are among the other banks hoping to cash in on the unprecedented generational wealth transfer when the baby boomers begin to die off. Northern Trust attracts clients through providing personalized customer service and investing in technology. Besides the Northeast, the company is targeting Cleveland's wealthy residents and the future affluent people in technology-driven Seattle. The new offices, coupled with the possible acquisition of a private bank or asset management firm with a comparable client portfolio, may be future growth avenues for Northern Trust, says Osborn. Meanwhile, UBS Warburg bank analyst Diane Glossman points to the unavoidable generational wealth transfer and the continued high gross domestic product growth rate in the United States as reasons why Northern Trust could weather a period of recession. A recessionary period also does not eliminate customers' need for Northern Trust's corporate processing services, according to experts.


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