One month after scrapping its trust company for a private-client services division, Barnett Banks Inc. is eager to bring wealthy Floridians back to banking.
We want to "recapture those customers that left us because we didn't have the products or the organizational structure to support their needs," said Rebecca S. Allen, Barnett's director of private-client services.
Barnett Trust Co. once had 40 salespeople pushing only trust products; Ms. Allen's unit now boasts 85 relationship managers, who sell everything from securities, annuities, and trust and investment management accounts to deposits and individual retirement accounts.
"In the old world, we had to sell a trust or a brokerage product," Ms. Allen said. "With this reorganization, we are not product driven, we're customer focused."
The move is part of the larger effort by Richard H. Jones, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based banking company's chief asset management executive, to change the way Barnett delivers investments. By doubling the private-client sales staff, Mr. Jones hopes to lower the number of accounts each banker manages, to make service more personal.
Ms. Allen was president of Barnett Bank of Southwest Florida until last December, when Mr. Jones named her president of Barnett Trust Co. Barnett then managed discretionary trust assets of $9.8 billion.
Mr. Jones later asked her to head the new private-client effort.
Having one person selling several products is a popular trend in private banking. But one former Barnett employee groused that this gives relationship managers too-diverse responsibilities.
"The ultimate question to be debated is: Can one person, no matter how experienced and talented he may be, competently perform the two functions of selling and relationship management?" he said.
But Ms. Allen said risks are inherent in any new organizational structure. "Quite frankly, I'm not too concerned about that right now," she said. "I'm more concerned about getting my relationship managers fully trained and well-rounded."