Expansive, diverse and home to many wealthy people, Southern California is a tantalizing market for BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Historically, the region's wealthy prefer wire house brokers, but BNY Mellon Wealth Management said it is committed to bringing its brand of wealth management services, which appeal more to "old money" clients, to affluent investors.

The wealth manager, a division of Bank of New York Mellon Corp., has hired two professionals for its Los Angeles operations: Spencer Gould, as a senior director, and Kimberlea Archer, as a director of business development.

Gould, who was a managing director at Fiduciary Trust Co. International, has more than 25 years of banking, trust and investment experience.

Archer was a vice president and private client adviser for U.S. Trust, Bank of America's wealth management business.

Gould and Archer are the latest salvo in the division's bid to provide wealth management services in Los Angeles and Southern California.

In the past eight months, it has hired four and promoted five others in the market.

Two more new hires are in the pipeline, according to Tracy Nickl, a managing director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management's Southern California region.

With almost a million households with investable assets of $1 million or more, Southern California has the largest concentration of wealthy households in the state, according to 2008 research from TNS, a global research firm in London.

With such a vast territory, and a registered investment adviser model that has been slow to take hold in the area, BNY Mellon Wealth Management should have a real shot at gaining some market share, according to Chip Roame, managing principal of Tiburon Strategic Advisors in Tiburon, Calif.

"L.A. is a very big market with varying geographical and industry niches," Roame said.

Aside from the entertainment industry, the aerospace industry has a significant presence near the coastal cities, he said, for example.

According to Manta, the web-based information guide on small businesses, there are about 858 aerospace-related companies in California.

BNY Mellon Wealth Management also has the advantage of being owned by a parent bank whose name was not sullied during the recent economic downturn, according to William Willis, the president and chief executive of Willis Consulting, an executive search firm in Palos Verdes, Calif.

Bank of New York Mellon has not saturated the area with a lot of retail bank branches, Willis said. That helps send a clear message to investors that it is more focused on private banking and other wealth management services.

And it helps reinforce Bank of New York Mellon's image as a grade-A operator, unlike other large banks in the area, Roame said.

"Bank of America and Wells Fargo have huge retail branch footprints in California," he said. "Sure they have private banking, but they do not have an image of exclusivity here."

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