There is a new client migration pattern coming and wirehouses are the likely loser.

High-net-worth clients who were afraid to move to a new wealth management provider in the middle of the financial crisis will now be more likely to change firms as things have settled down, according to a new research report from Cerulli.

In the wake of the crisis, many wealth management providers are turning to more conservative investing strategies. But this shift on their part is too late. The financial meltdown has taken its toll on performance-focused HNW investors, who have grown dissatisfied with their providers and are now looking to change to a new provider, the report said.

The firms that stand to gain client assets in this wave of client migration are the ones that have a strong balance sheet and are focused on client service. Specifically, the report says that traditional trust companies, high-end registered investment advisory firms (RIAs) and regional firms are well positioned to gain clients. It cited Northern Trust, Bessemer Trust, RBC Wealth Management and Janney Montgomery Scott as examples.

Alois Pirker, research director at Aite Group, another research outfit, said he agreed with the assertion that regionals and trust companies are well positioned to gain client assets. He said that the ultimate winners in capturing new client assets will be the firms that were able to deliver a reliable performance in 2009.