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The best banks to work for if you want a job in wealth management

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Bulge bracket banks and other major firms continue to build out wealth management as a profitable business and finding the right people to bring in new revenues and assets remains a priority. The hyper-competitive market is on the lookout for candidates with leadership skills, but even at the highest levels it often boils down to being a good salesperson.

Family offices and wealth managers that are expanding or scooping up rivals are a strong bet for job seekers, says Michael Castine, who this month joined Ridgeway Partners in New York as a partner.

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But don’t jump without an offer. If you’ve already got a job, don’t move until you land a new one, and don’t undersell yourself, Castine advises.

“Play above your weight,” he says. “Strive for an ‘A’ company where you’ll really be happy.”

New analysis by Morningstar examines the shifting marketplace and reveals the best companies based on your focus.Here’s their breakdown on firms based on client size and a look at which ones have been hiring.

Ultra-High-Net-Worth (more than $20 million in investable assets): Northern Trust and Morgan Stanley have strong brands and reputations, and often high switching costs.

  • Last week, Chicago-based Northern Trust hired heads of its Houston and Texas operations, along with six other employees.
  • Last month, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management said it has recruited several large adviser teams from rivals, including J.P. Morgan Chase, UBS and HSBC.

High-Net-Worth (between $1 million and $20 million of investable asset): Raymond James has a unique business model in employing advisors.

  • Last week, Raymond James poached a team of four former Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (legacy Citigroup Smith Barney) advisers who managed more than $500 million in client assets to join the firm in Maine.

Mass Affluent (less than $1 million in investable assets): Charles Schwab best serves the niche, while Bank of America’s size and scope of services makes it an ideal fit for both high-net-worth and mass affluent clients.

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch this week said it plucked Diane Padalino from Goldman Sachs as a wealth adviser in its Private Banking & Investment Group in Denver, as well as a team from Morgan Stanley for its Miami office.

M&A in the industry has been heating up for some time, even if all deals aren’t as big as Morgan Stanley gulping Smith Barney from Citigroup to build the world’s largest wealth-management firm.

The market is still ripe for consolidation, both by behemoths swallowing rivals and emerging players buying up smaller firms.

In March, Credit Suisse bought Morgan Stanley’s European and Middle East wealth management businesses, days after Schroders’ acquisition of Cazenove Capital.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said last week it was seeking acquisitions valued at more than C$1 billion ($948.72 million) to propel profit from wealth management.

Carefully consider what type and size of firm is best for you.

“Look for patterns,” Castine advises. “If other executives keep identifying the same problem, don’t think you’re going to be the one who will change everything.”

Follow the author on Twitter @natashagural

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