Banks and Their Competitors Shell Out in Race for Affluent
American Banker (08/29/00) Vol. 104, No. 34 p.7; Quinn, Lawrence Richter

Financial services competitors are pulling out all of the stops to train their employees to pursue and win the business of the wealthy. Unlike commercial banks of the past that were unwilling to invest in training, today's securities firms and insurance brokerages realize that the only way to attract wealthy consumers is to train their private bankers and trust executives on the principles of appealing to the affluent. Because of the increased competition, banks have started to do the same. And according to Bill Trigleth, senior vice president of the Cannon Financial Institute, which trains bankers, most banks are spending upwards of $3,000 to $4,000 annually on training for each private banker to get through the securities certification process within one to three years. The size of the investment suggests that the stakes are high and that more now than ever, banks are willing to do whatever it takes to win affluent customers. A survey by Greene Consulting Associates suggests that banks have their work cut out for them. The survey indicates that 34 percent of private bankers and trust officers do not know the maximum federal tax rate for estates, 45 percent are not able to compare the after-tax yields of municipal and corporate bonds, and 52 percent do not realize that owners of variable life insurance policies are able to choose their asset allocation.

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