BNY Mellon's fine art of serving wealthy
It was good to see "wealth" banker Paul Dresselhaus earlier this week at the formal opening of the new (and only) BNY Mellon branch in Tampa on Boy Scout Boulevard across from International Plaza. Dresselhaus ( left, in photo) is running the bank's wealth management division along Florida's gulf coast, and though he normally operates from Naples he was in town to help Tampa regional director Ray Ifert(right, in photo) host some 200 friends and potential clients of the bank Monday night. (Photo by Scott Keeler of the St. Petersburg Times.)
The BNY Mellon message, of course, is once we get through this economic downturn the Tampa Bay area will still be a mecca for a lot of affluent people. It's one of the nation's Top 25 markets for the rich, BNY Mellon points out, and the bank wants a piece of that action. Dresselhaus and Ifert characterize Tampa as a comfortable place for the wealthy (we're talking $5-million net worth and up, waaay up) with plenty of upscale housing available not far from the downtown areas.
And in this stock market mess? Dresselhaus says over-communicating with nervous clients is critical. People with big stakes in stocks may not like the market declines but they hate not hearing from their money managers.
BNY Mellon plans to bring in plenty of in-house influentials to speak to select Tampa audiences about matters relevant to wealthy families. A key example will be BNY Mellon's Tom Rogerson, head of the bank's family wealth services, who counsels families with money -- and especially the kids -- about the responsibilities of inheritance and managing money as a young person. We could all use more of that advice.
There is some deja vu here. Iowa-bred Dresselhaus first appeared in the Tampa Bay area when Chicago-based Northern Trust arrived in downtown St. Petersburg in 1992. Even then, 17 years ago, the message from banks catering to the wealthy was that the Tampa Bay area was a promising market that merited fancy offices catering to the rich. This second and earlier photo from 1994 includes a younger (but not much younger looking) Dresselhaus on the left, with his Northern Trust team, including David Feaster (on right, now president of the local Cornerstone Bank). (Photo by Maurice Rivenbark of the St. Petersburg Times.)
Some things change and some things don't.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist