A revamped asset-management strategy has helped Pacific Bank attract new money from California's wealthy.
The San Francisco-based bank's trust department saw its assets increase by 50%, to more than $500 million, in the past six months, according to executive vice president Arthur C. Rutzen. Mr. Rutzen, a former Wells Fargo & Co. and First Interstate Bancorp executive, joined Pacific last summer to launch its new wealth management group.
Mr. Rutzen quickly hired nine account officers and managers for Pacific. Most of the recruits worked in asset management and private banking for either First Interstate or Wells Fargo. When those two institutions merged last year, they not only supplied Pacific with talent, but with some new clients and assets.
But Mr. Rutzen said much of Pacific's new business is the result of the bank's account managers actively soliciting new clients and referrals. The bank hosts seminars and other events to which it invites prospective clients.
Pacific's money management business is now generating fee income for the $492.6 million-asset banking company, analysts said.
"At its core, Pacific is a trade finance lender, and it's positive for the shareholders if they can find alternative revenue sources," said Steven J. Didion, an analyst at Hoefer & Arnett. "Part of that is the ability to grow these ancillary businesses like trust and wealth management."
Pacific is competing with several in-state banks and investment managers, including BankAmerica Corp., Wells Fargo, Union Bank of California, and Sumitomo Bank of California. It also goes up against banks from other parts of the country and the world, including U.S. Trust Co., Northern Trust Co., Credit Suisse, and Union Bank of Switzerland. And the venerable Bessemer Trust Co. is opening a San Francisco office this quarter.
"I'm sure they will be a formidable competitor," Mr. Rutzen said. "However, we have almost 15 years of existing relationships and experience here in the greater bay area."