Commercial banks are increasingly trying to turn themselves into wealth managers, fighting over each scrap of business from their most affluent customers. Now some big wealth managers are launching counter-attacks.

Swiss investment bank UBS, the world's largest manager of money for the superrich, has spent three years building up its U.S. commercial banking operations, which include credit cards, mortgages and personal loans. Rather than using the products to woo new customers, UBS is marketing them exclusively to existing wealth-management clients — and relying on them to help the company get and keep brokerage business.

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