Barack Obama may be looking to boost marginal tax rates for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, but that doesn’t mean the wealthy are shunning the candidate, said Richard Feurtado, BlackRock’s head of wealth management in the account management group.
In fact, about 50 percent of BlackRock’s ultra-high net worth clients are Obama supporters, Feurtado said at the 2008 Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Boston.
“People do things for all sorts of reasons, and maybe one of them is financial, but there are many other reasons for people voting in certain ways,” Feurtado said.
The business of managing money for the rich has become “insanely competitive” and lost its rationality, a Philadelphia-based wealth manager warned. Some very large companies who have been hiring aggressively will find that they either don’t make money or they make less than they could if they invested in other areas, said Al Piscopo, chairman of Glenmede Trust Co. Speaking at this week’s Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Boston, he said that talk about the industry consolidating “is a myth” and that a takeover is often followed a while later by further fragmentation as wealth managers set up their own new businesses. Piscopo also questioned whether some of the big banks were getting too “gimmicky” and becoming more like “life-stage or lifestyle advisers” than wealth advisers.
We may be more than a year away from the U.S. presidential election but the nation’s rich are already getting prepared for a higher tax era by shifting their money into different assets, according to some wealth managers. There is already a lot of concern about the implications of the election and a change in the political and budgetary climate, says Gail Cohen, head of global wealth management at Fiduciary Trust Co. International.
Bob Greifeld, Chief Executive of Nasdaq Stock Market Inc, does not seem like the sort to party hearty, but in 2004 he did. He organized a week-long trip to Ireland for more than 20 family members, which included custom-written songs, re-creations of a medieval village, and a gourmet menu designed to exclude cream and butter. There were 55 staffers to care for the guests.
Wealth management firms, facing a shortage of talented advisers, are recruiting from industries like pharmaceuticals and software, where sales staff have mastered technical issues and used to selling to intelligent people, said Bruce Holley, a partner at Boston Consulting Group.
Competition to provide wealth management services is intensifying, and the battle for top talent is leading to increased poaching and a rise in bonuses and other incentives as banks and other wealth managers try to prevent their best performers from defecting. “Somebody who is good in this space is highly sought after,” John Stadtler, a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, told the Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Boston. Indeed, wealth managers are currently much more likely to poach relationship managers from rivals than train them themselves — part of the problem being that it can take a long time to develop the skills needed to deal with the highly demanding moneyed class. And they need to be served now!!!
The rich aren’t just interested in being nice to the environment, they’re investing and spending money to get their green credentials. From investing in sustainable and clean energy enterprises, to carbon offsets, some think this is just typical first-adopter behavior by the rich – much like how they started using mobile phones (or cars, air flight, electricity) before they became cheap enough for the masses.