For two ambitious West Coast banks with dreams of managing their wealthiest customers' money, it's time to take on the Big Apple.

Abbot Downing, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo (WFC), and Bank of the West, the U.S. division of French lender BNP Paribas, are looking to expand their asset-management businesses by entering the lucrative New York market this year. Both banks are opening new offices in Manhattan to attract more business from people with millions of dollars of potential investments.

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