Trust Companies: Firms, Products, Clients, and Technologies

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29 November 2007


New York, NY, USA November 29, 2007

Technology providers are leading an evolution in North American trust companies, as businesses strive to hang on to their declining market share in the fast-growing wealth management industry.

The trust business has not changed greatly over the last century, resisting the rapid growth that has occurred in the wealth management industry over the past twenty years. For the trust industry in North America today, the choice is simple: change or decline into irrelevance. In a new report, , Celent discusses how businesses can transition towards a new and more relevant business model. These players will differ notably from their predecessors in that they will feature open architecture for products, straight-through processing of transactions, more efficient account administration, better and more client-focused usage of investment officers, and online access and management direction from clients.

"The trust industry has shown itself to be a poor adapter to the new realities of the wealth management industry, having declined from the prevalent form of wealth management just fifty years ago to a much smaller market share today," according to Robert J. Ellis, senior analyst with Celent and author of the report. "Fortunately, new realities and technologies are leading the trust industry to adopt different business models, such as open architecture for products, that will allow the trust industry to better compete in the future."

This report examines the firms providing trust services and assesses the clients for trust companies' offerings. The report also reviews both current and planned trust technology offerings from Metavante, Northern Trust, SEI, SunGard, AccuTech, HWA International, and Innovest. Trust systems receive highly detailed evaluations and are then compared utilizing Celent's ABCD Vendor View. This analysis shows at a glance the relative position of vendors based on Advanced Technology, Breadth of Functionality, Customer Base (number of paying clients), and Depth of Client Services. The report also briefly discusses international trust companies as competition for North American providers and makes projections for the future of the trust industry in North America.

The report is 58 pages and contains 22 figures and six tables. Many of the figures are screen shots of different existing and developing trust systems. These screen shots are selected to highlight user dashboards, transaction processing screens, and client web access views.

The report's table of contents is available online.

Members of Celent's Retail Securities & Investments research service can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left. Non-members should contact for more information.