As the year draws to a close, those who watch and work the private banking market are expecting 9% growth, to $23.5 trillion, in the wealth of people with more than $1 million of investable assets.

Though that might seem like a healthy gain - especially to average folks with considerably less in the bank - it is a far cry from the 24% jump that occurred in 1998. "There was spectacular growth in the equity markets in 1998," says John Rolander, a vice president with Gemini Consulting in New York. This year, for better or for worse, the seven-year-old bull market has returned to a brisk, but not galloping, pace.

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