Goldman Sachs Group Inc. contains an abundancy of millionaire clients, while it still only takes the firm five minutes to underwrite a loan from a new business, or to simply pay down taxes. On the other hand, Morgan Stanley’s are eager to provide you with bridge financing to bid on the mansion of your dreams in cash. This week, both Wall Street firms’ profit reports reported they are both headed into the booming market to lend to high-net-worth individuals. Bloomberg reports that the new strategy has been paying off, as Morgan Stanley tripled those loans in the past five years, while Goldman Sachs is even expanding overseas.
“Relative to things like the securities trading markets that generally haven’t grown post crisis, the wealth market continues to grow and the ultra-high-net worth market is even more attractive, it grows fast and has high margins,” said Christian Bolu, a bank analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “It tends to be very bespoke; you can’t go to your regular, mainstream bank to get loans on your artwork.”
Morgan Stanley set a new goal aimed to double the percentage of clients that received loans from the bank after its acquisition of Smith Barney. At the same time, Goldman Sachs secured an important sum of its revenue growth plan of increasing lending to wealth management customers.
The two firms both acknowledged that they are attempting to catch up to rivals such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., which has provided loans to clients, who don’t necessarily need the money, for decades. Deutsche Bank AG is also hiring in the United States with dedication for lending to individuals who have assets totaling over $100 million.
Although, if a loan heads downhill, it can leave an adviser in a sticky situation of having to collect on debt. One example of this is when Goldman needed to seize a client’s yacht, after he failed to pay last year. “‘Lending always has risks because depending on whether the loan is collateralized or not, you have the risk of not being paid back,” said JMP’s Ryan. “But having an existing relationship with the customer and information around their financial life allows the firms to make better underwriting decisions.”