Last year, BNY Mellon Wealth Management was on an ambitious push to expand its network of financial advisors. Whether Robert Kelly’s surprise resignation late Wednesday will derail that momentum remains unclear at this point.
BNY Mellon has a national network of offices and had actively recruited advisors to its offices in recent months, particularly in the Northeast, Florida and San Francisco.
It also had acquired advisory firms, including the June purchase of I(3) Wealth Advisors, a Toronto-based firm with $3.4 billion in assets under advisement. It was the bank’s first such purchase in Canada.
Nevertheless, analysts are skeptical as to whether the wealth management business will expand dramatically in the wake of Kelly’s departure.
“It’s a very tiny part of their business,” Rochdale Securities Bank Analyst Dick Bove said of BNY Mellon’s wealth management business. “They grow it, they stop growing it. I don’t think it’s ever going to be a meaningful part of what they do.”
Bringing BNY Mellon’s wealth management business to a more competitive level would take an even bigger push, Bove said. The bank would have to hire more advisors and set up offices all over the country.
“That’s just not their game, plus they’d be competing with their clients if they did it,” Bove said.
BNY Mellon continues to lead in global custody, with $25.4 trillion in assets as of the end of the first quarter, said Greg Cherry, senior analyst at Boston-based financial services research firm Aite Group’s wealth management practice. Cherry said he expects the short-term impacts of BNY Mellon’s leadership change to be limited.
At the same time that it announced Kelly’s departure, BNY Mellon elevated President Gerald Hassell to the CEO and chairman posts.
“Barring no major shifts, the franchise is strong -- which is not to say too that competitors will not sit back and continue their activities,” Cherry said.
BNY Mellon Wealth Management is among the top 10 U.S. wealth managers with more than $171 billion in private client assets, according to the company. The company is also one of the country’s largest custody banks.
Yet even as the market tries to assess how Kelly’s departure will impact the wealth management business, the unit continues to pursue big initiatives.
Separately, as the BNY Mellon Wealth Management group absorbed the news of Kelly’s departure, it also announced a new director of Charitable Gift Services Investments, Sally Rubin. The company announced Rubin’s appointment Thursday as it reorganizes its Charitable Gift Services business.
Rubin will lead the CGS investment team and be responsible for all of the group’s relationships.
With more than 100 clients and about $2.7 billion in client assets the CGS is one of the largest providers of planned giving services to universities, hospitals, community foundations and other non-profit groups.
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