Global banks, forced by regulators to reduce their dependence on profits from high-risk trading, have rediscovered the appeal of the mundane business of managing money for clients.

Deutsche Bank AG is now counting on the fund unit it failed to sell to help boost return on equity, a measure of profitability. UBS AG is paring investment banking as it focuses on overseeing assets for wealthy clients. Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., three of the five biggest U.S. banks, are considering expanding asset- management divisions as they seek to grab market share from fund companies such as Fidelity Investments.

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