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November 7th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Abbot Downing Caters to the Uber Wealthy

» by EmmaM in: Asset Management,Assets

In case you didn’t know, the top 1% of households in America holds about 40% of the country’s wealth.  If you’re wondering how that relates to you, an average, middle-class earner, it basically means that there’s a lot less money to spread around between a lot more people.  You should also know that the uber wealthy are not looking to give any of it back any time soon.  And thanks to Wells Fargo and their new bank for the wealthy elite, they should have no problem hanging onto their money and even making it grow (reducing the amount of money left for everyone else).

While few Americans would admit to socialist leanings, even today, it just seems like there’s something wrong with this equation, especially considering that studies have shown that those with wealth (the top 1%) have seen significantly less impact from the recession than the rest of the population, losing a much smaller percentage of assets.  But it is probably for this exact reason that Wells Fargo has chosen to target this demographic.  Banks are losing money just like everyone else and it looks like at least one institution is making the smart move by going straight to the source.

This exclusive new bank will be called Abbot Downing, and the name is indeed apt.  For those unfamiliar with the title, it comes from a 19th century coach company of the same name (from partners Lewis Downing and J. Stephens Abbot) that was famous for producing stage coaches that catered to wealthy citizens looking to travel in luxury.  In fact, their best-known coach was the Concord, which may put you in mind of an elite form of travel that certain wealthy persons enjoy today.  In any case, the name of the game was exclusivity, and the new iteration of Abbot Downing couldn’t get much more selective when it comes to clients; anyone wishing to gain membership to the bank must cough up a minimum of $50 million in investments.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t look like they’ll have much trouble filling the roster.  They’ve reportedly secured $27.5 billion in commitments from interested parties already, and they’re not set to open until April of next year.  However, they do seem to be offering some perks in exchange for the 8+ figures that patrons will have to pony up.  Their staff of 300 will include not only standard professionals that can advise customers on issues such as cash flow, investments, and transfer of wealth, but the bank will also employ psychologists that can help with matters of family legacy (and education) as well as leadership transfer (in the case of companies being handed down, or even just managing a wealthy estate).  They’ll also have an expert on hand for the sole purpose of building family genealogies.  Oh, the problems the uber wealthy must face.

The main branch of Abbot Downing will open in Chicago, but there will also be branches in a handful of other cities, like Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, and Los Angeles, to name a few.  Of course, they don’t need very many facilities when their targeted patrons are literally one in a thousand.  And while most Americans may be disgusted by Wells Fargo’s blatant money grab, the truth is that it’s just good business.  They’re offering a service to those with the money to pay for it, and most of their competitors are probably kicking themselves that they didn’t think of it first.  After all, targeting a small, wealthy segment of the population means a lot more money for a lot less work.

Emma Martin is a contributing writer for where you can find security labels and adhesives to help prevent theft.

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