Six years after acquiring a small Atlanta money manager to establish a foothold in Georgia, BNY Mellon Wealth Management is adding staff in the state to take advantage of a surge in the Southeast's population of wealthy individuals.

The unit has hired two portfolio managers in the past two months in Georgia and is looking to add a senior portfolio manager. In the past three years it has more than doubled the size of its sales staff in Atlanta as it continues to focus more on the region.

"We are definitely in a hiring mode right now," said Dana Halberg, who was promoted Thursday to chairman of BNY Mellon Wealth Management in Georgia.

The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. unit has 35 employees in its Atlanta office, and Halberg expects to have between 40 and 42 within the next year.

Susan Rivers, a spokeswoman for the unit, said it plans to add another managing director for sales for Georgia by the end of the year. Early in the year it hired a sales officer.

Analysts said Georgia — and more specifically Atlanta — has become an attractive region for wealthy individuals.

Burton Greenwald of BJ Greenwald Associates in Philadelphia said the high-net-worth population in Atlanta has increased "five or six times over" in the past 10 years. He said this makes Atlanta a natural growth area for Bank of New York Mellon to consider.

"BNY Mellon has historically been a Northeast-focused organization," Greenwald said. "It is logical to look at Atlanta and the Southeast, but I expect further national growth for them given their resources."

Mellon, which merged with Bank of New York in 2007, entered Georgia in 2003 when it bought Arden Group, which managed $750 million of assets at the time it was acquired. In 2005 it bought City Capital Inc., an Atlanta firm that was managing $800 million of assets at the time for high-net-worth individuals and institutions.

Halberg said BNY Mellon Asset Management now has more than $2.75 billion of assets under management in Georgia and she expects further growth as the company continues to hire.

BNY Mellon Wealth Management, among the nation's 10 largest wealth managers, with about $151 billion in assets under management, isn't the only banking company trying to expand in wealth management Georgia.

In November, Wilmington Trust hired three advisers in Atlanta to expand its wealth advisory services business in the Southeast. Two of the advisers, D. Jack Sawyer Jr. and Michael A. Mohr, were founding principals of Arden Group.

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