The world’s top 10 wealth management firms by AUM

Who has the most client money? We run down the largest companies by assets under management

The world’s top 10 wealth management firms by AUM

Does size matter? Well, it depends on who you ask but there’s no doubt that when it comes to assets under management (AUM), it can often be a sign of a firm’s ability to attract affluent clientele.

In 2020, ADV Ratings released its ranking of the world's largest wealth management firms by AUM as of June 30, 2020. The below list reflects the top-10 investment management firms by assets and net income. The figures are in U.S. dollar unless stated.

1. UBS Wealth Management ($2.6 trillion in AUM)

The top dog … by size. A Swiss company, UBS operates in more than 50 countries and has 286 branch locations in the U.S. UBS Wealth Management Canada requires a minimum of CAD$2 million to open a managed account and offers extensive experience managing the wealth of individuals, families, entrepreneurs and executives.

UBS is widely regarded as a member of the bulge bracket banks, which comprises the world's largest multi-national investment banks whose investment banking clients are usually large corporations, institutional investors and governments.

 2. Credit Suisse ($1.25 trillion)

Another Swiss company, whose offices are no doubt filled with fancy watches and nice chocolate. Joking, of course.

Founded in 1856 to fund the development of Switzerland's rail system, it’s now another member of the bulge bracket. Wealth management solutions include preserving, accumulating, or transferring wealth.

The company restructured itself in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and was one of the least affected banks during the global financial crisis. However, afterwards it began shrinking its investment business, executing layoffs and cutting cost. In January 2015, it announced that it would be exiting its private banking and wealth management services in the U.S., offloading its U.S. wealth business to Wells Fargo in the same year.

3. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management ($1.24 trillion)

Morgan Stanley has 250 advisory firms that are committed to helping clients grow their financial, family, and social capital. In the U.S. it has more than 15,600 wealth managers in nearly 600 branches. Another undisputed bulge member.

As reported in 2020 by WP, Morgan Stanley expanded into Canada, building on the foundations of its Shareworks by Morgan Stanley operation to launch Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Canada.

4. Bank of America Global Wealth & Investment Management ($1.22 trillion)

Bank of America’s investment division focuses on two types of clients: people with over $250,000 in total investable assets, and high-net-worth individuals for whom Bank of America can provide comprehensive wealth management solutions. It has more than 20,000 wealth managers in 750 branches.

A true behemoth (and bulge bracket), Bank of America was formed through NationsBank's acquisition of BankAmerica in 1998. It is the second-largest banking institution in the United States, after JPMorgan Chase, and the eighth largest bank in the world.

5. J.P. Morgan Private Bank ($677 billion)

Advisors, strategists, and investors at J.P. Morgan help individuals create custom financial plans and help achieve those goals. A global powerhouse (and bulge member) it asks the question: when is a private bank right for you? It’s answer: “Simply put, the more money you have, the more likely you and your family would benefit from the level of service and access a true private bank can offer. Your finances are more complex; your opportunities and risks, potentially greater. Even if you’re a sophisticated investor, there is value in the insights, capabilities, and connections a great private bank can provide.”

6. Goldman Sachs ($558 billion)

A name synonymous with Wall Street – and former employer of ex-Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Its clients work with private wealth management teams to select from investment vehicles covering the entire asset spectrum — including cash, fixed income and equities, as well as a range of alternative offerings such as private equity and hedge funds.

7. Charles Schwab ($506.3 billion)

Founded as Charles Schwab & Co. in 1971 by its namesake Charles R. Schwab, the company capitalized on the financial deregulation of the 1970s to pioneer discount sales of equity securities. The 1980s economic expansion financed the bank's investments in technology, automation, and digital record keeping. The first to offer round-clock order entry and quotation, it was purchased by Bank of America in 1983 for $55 million. Three years later, the profitability of the bank's no-charge mutual funds prompted the founder to buy his company back for $280 million.

Charles Schwab offers wealth management services through an entire team of advisors, called Schwab Private Client. These advisors consider individual clients' retirement income planning, estate planning, and insurance needs. The company employs over 2,000 wealth managers and has over 345 U.S. branch offices.

8. Citi Private Bank ($500 billion)

Citi Private Bank offers services for professional investors, wealthy individuals, family offices, and lawyers and law firms. Its self-proclaimed calling card is that it maintains an extremely high ratio of advisors to ensure that every client's portfolio gets the attention it needs.

It has 60 offices in 23 countries and to qualify for a Citi Private account, one must have a net worth of at least $25 million. This is waived for law firm clients and qualified high-net-worth individuals.

9. BNP Paribas Wealth Management ($424 billion)

BNP Paribas is a French international banking group. It is the world's seventh largest bank by total assets and the largest bank in Europe, and currently operates with a presence in 72 countries. It became one of the five largest banks in the world after the 2008 financial crisis.

Its wealth management division is a renowned service provider for corporate and institutional clients.

10. Julius Baer ($423.5 billion)

Established as a traditional private bank and named after Swiss banker Julius Bär, the majority of income is generated by commissions and service fees. Located in 28 countries, it is known for its banking secrecy and bank–client confidentiality. Julius Baer employs a staff of more than 6,600 worldwide and manages assets for private clients from all over the world.