mass affluent

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pages: 526 words: 158,913

Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America by Greg Farrell

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, banking crisis, bonus culture, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, financial innovation, fixed income, glass ceiling, high net worth, Long Term Capital Management, mass affluent, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, six sigma, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, too big to fail, yield curve

No one would ever use the word “legendary” in the same sentence as “Lewis,” unless the name “McColl” was squeezed somewhere in between. And now here it was, out of the blue, an opportunity for Lewis to pull off something even the great Hugh McColl couldn’t achieve. In the 1990s McColl saw how the combination of Merrill Lynch’s thundering herd of financial advisors could be grafted on to BofA’s nationwide base of “mass affluent” customers to create a superpower in the industry, a demonstrable advantage for the Charlotte bank against its nearest competitors. The timing wasn’t perfect, since Lewis was about to pay out $21 billion in cash for LaSalle, and had just invested $2 billion in Countrywide Financial, the huge mortgage originator that was hobbled by the real estate downturn.

“I don’t see any synergies.” That statement caught Lewis by surprise. There were legitimate reasons to oppose a merger between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, but lack of synergies was not among them. A deal between the two organizations would graft Merrill’s thundering herd of retail brokers on to BofA’s “mass affluent” customer base across the U.S. The potential for growth in the category seemed unlimited and would allow Merrill’s sales force, already the industry leader, to put even more distance between itself and its competitors. After Curl left the room, Lewis asked O’Neal what he wanted in order to make the deal happen.

replied Wetzel with a self-deprecating laugh. “I’m not that guy.” Wetzel turned to the next potential acquirer, Bank of America. “This makes sense on the retail piece,” he said, referring to Merrill’s thundering herd of financial advisors, who could be unleashed on BofA’s extraordinary roster of “mass affluent” customers across the U.S. Another good fit was the international business: Merrill had a strong network of overseas offices, but BofA was almost entirely a U.S.-focused bank. But there were problems with such a marriage, Wetzel said. BofA had started its own investment bank and built up its own trading operation in New York.


pages: 329 words: 95,309

Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner

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algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K

For example, ABN AMRO organise their customers into five distinct categories: Intensive channel users who use all channels regularly; Personal contact seeking customers, who want advice and face-to-face service; Self-directed people who think they can do everything themselves; Passive hybrid customers who only talk to the bank when they have to; and Inactive channel users who never talk to the bank via any channel The last two categories represent the least profitable and smallest sector for the bank, whilst the first two are the targeted ‘mass affluent’, whilst the mid-category is the majority of the client base. Amazingly, the first three categories all answered the question: I prefer to discuss more serious banking issues in person (89%) and in case of problems, I want to be able to go into a branch and speak to someone (94%). In other words, although the bank knows the branch is dead, the customer does not.


pages: 285 words: 86,174

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Chris Hayes

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, carried interest, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, hiring and firing, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

I think the answer lies in a newly radicalized upper middle class. One of the most interesting features of our current political moment is that a significant gulf has opened up between, roughly, the top 40 percent and the top 1 percent, between the middle class, upper middle class, professionals, and the mass affluent and the genuine plutocrats. In fact, the two most energetic and important political movements of the aughts draw their popular constituency from the upper middle class: people with graduate school degrees, homes, second homes, kids in good colleges, and six-figure incomes. This frustrated, discontented class has spent a decade with their noses pressed against the glass, watching the winners grab more and more for themselves, seemingly at the upper middle class’s expense.


pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

Smarter investors cunningly played them off to get better deals. Dealers began to seek new ways to improve profitability and started to market structured products directly to retail customers, the widows and orphans of legend. Retail customers were now HNWI (high net worth individuals); there was the ‘mass affluent’, surely an oxymoron. Structured product marketers set out into suburbia and strip malls. The logic was compelling – you had less sophisticated clients, the margins would be richer. In short, you could rip them off blind. In Europe individuals, when not dodging tax, were worrying about reduced investment returns.


pages: 382 words: 120,064

Bank 3.0: Why Banking Is No Longer Somewhere You Go but Something You Do by Brett King

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, asset-backed security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, George Gilder, Google Glasses, high net worth, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Infrastructure as a Service, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, microcredit, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, performance metric, platform as a service, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, telepresence, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, underbanked, web application

For branch banking and design, different strategies need to be adopted for customers who are financially and cognitively less resourceful, and those who are wealthier, but time-poor. If you are catering for those customers who are less profitable but also less inclined to use digital channels, you have a cost burden for carrying legacy behaviour. If you are targeting mass-affluent and high-net-worth customers with $100k+ or more in ready cash to invest, the very nature of their busy lifestyles means that coming to a “space” is a luxury they can rarely afford. For many bankers this might seem counterintuitive. The dilemma then is that the most profitable customers you want to get into a branch are increasingly likely to try a direct channel first because their time is their most valuable commodity, which prevents them from seeking out a rich, face-to-face experience.


pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

CITIZENSHIP ARBITRAGE Individuals, much like nations, can multi-align their loyalties in the marketplace of identities. Tycoons hedge against turbulence in their own economies by holding foreign passports even if it is against the law. This global tribe for whom mobility supersedes nationality is growing with the rise of what Credit Suisse calls the “mass affluent” (those with investible assets of up to $500,000). As a result, the citizenship market is booming, with loyalty as much a matter of where one puts one’s money as what passport one carries. It is difficult to think of citizenship as the basis of identity when it is up for sale worldwide, with countries engaged in a tug-of-war to recruit wealthy and talented individuals.