The accumulation of wealth by aging Baby Boomers in America presents as much frustration for banks as it does opportunity. Conventional wisdom is that banks can use retail investment management services to sharpen customer relationship management and increase customer profitability. Even so, banks are finding the path to investment management nirvana riddled with tricky customer preferences and little studied-let alone practically applied-consumer buyer values as they relate to investment purchasing decisions.

What's clear is that banks' growing interest in determining who their customers are and what investment products and services they need and will buy is prompting a virtual convergence of private banking, trust and brokerage services. "They really are different products that satisfy the customer's needs at different stages of life and can be bundled together," says Patricia Tsien, managing partner in the financial markets strategy practice of Andersen Consulting. "That, fundamentally, is very different from the way banks are delivering services today."

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