*Boston Private Bank & Trust tops Luxury Institute survey
*Vanguard was highest-ranked large firm
(Adds Vanguard ranking)
By Helen Kearney
NEW YORK, April 20 Tiny Boston Private Bank &
Trust topped bigger and better-known wealth managers as best
financial adviser for the wealthiest investors, according to a
survey released on Tuesday by The Luxury Institute.
Two New York-based advisory firms followed the Boston firm:
Bernstein Global Wealth Management, part of AllianceBernstein
Holding LP (AB.N) and Rockefeller Wealth Management, a firm
that started as the oil baron's family money manager.
The bank's small size gives them an advantage over bigger
firms, said William Oberlies, senior financial officer of the
investment group at Boston Private Bank.
"We're able to give our clients direct access to their
portfolio manager, the person actually making the investment
decisions," he said. "At bigger shops you usually have to deal
with a middle person."
The survey asked 505 investors with at least $5 million in
net worth to rate wealth managers based on quality of service,
exclusivity, the social status they bestow on their clients and
The survey also asked investors whether it was worth paying
higher fees and whether they would recommend the firm to
friends and family.
Boston Private, a unit of Boston Private Financial Holdings
(BPFH.O), has 14 advisers and over $2.6 billion in banking
assets and assets under management, according to Oberlies.
Respondents were only allowed to rate firms they were
familiar with, which in Boston Private's case was 30 people.
The highest-ranking nationwide firm was U.S. Trust, the
private banking unit of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), which
finished in 16th place. Wells Fargo Wealth Management Group, a
division of Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), came in 19th place.
Vanguard Personal Investors, part of the giant index mutual
fund company, ranked sixth with a 6.4 score. About 25 percent
of the survey's respondents rated the company.
Bessemer Trust, last year's top placed firm, fell to 12th
place. Wealth management firms need to do a better job of
explaining why wealthy people should invest with them, said
Milton Pedraza, chief executive of The Luxury Institute, a New
York-based research firm.
"Wealthy people are fickle," he said.
(Reporting by Helen Kearney. Editing by Robert MacMillan)