The bank decided to move its program because of Cetera’s technology platform, product menu, reporting capabilities and the training it provides advisors, according to Catherine Bonneau, Cetera’s president and CEO.
“They needed to be sure that they had a partner that would support the advisors in delivering services to their sophisticated clientele,” Bonneau said in a telephone interview. East West Bank, which is dually chartered in the U.S. and mainland China, caters to affluent Asian Americans.
Bonneau noted that based on the bank’s size and Cetera’s research, the program has tremendous upside potential. “They did not have as strong a penetration of their client base as they would like to have,” she said of East West Bank.
Recognizing that, the bank is committed to staffing up. It appointed Agnes Lew, a 2012 Bank Investment Consultant top program manager honoree, director of wealth management. It has also hired 19 dedicated advisors and a total of 33 reps, and is looking to bring on more, according to Bonneau.
“I am very pleased that East West Bank has partnered with Cetera Financial Institutions to bring our clients an expanded range of personalized investment services,” Lew said in the announcement.
The wealth management program includes an insurance and advisory offering with a future trust operation, private banking program and other services in the works.
“We’re very excited about the support that they have for this investment and insurance program,” Bonneau said of East West Bank’s senior management.
East West Bank is the third financial institution with more than $20 billion in assets to sign with Cetera in the last eight months. Regions Bank, a regional bank based in Birmingham, Ala., signed with Cetera in November, and Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorporation, operator of eight banks in 10 states, signed in July.
East West Bank operates more than 120 branches worldwide, mainly in California and in Atlanta, Boston, Houston, New York, and Seattle, as well as in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Is a subsidiary of East West Bancorp, a publicly owned company with $21.8 billion in assets.