How to Become a Private Banker

Private bankers are bankers who provide personal financial services to wealthy clients. Millions of Americans with more than $1,000,000 in assets do business with private banks. Personal bankers provide investment services in addition to routine commercial banking services with a personal touch. While most people must call an automated line, sign on to their online accounts, or go to the bank to speak to a teller in order to transfer money from one account to another, someone with a private banker only needs to call their banker to take care of it. Learning how to become a private banker can be helpful for anyone wanting to work in the banking industry.


1. Know the various names assigned to private or personal bankers. A banker providing “high touch” services like estate planning, tax advisory services, and managing investment portfolios may also go by these names:

  • Relationship manager.
  • Wealth manager.
2. Understand that wealth managers work for private banks and for divisions of commercial banks.

  • Many private banks are in Switzerland.
  • Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. is a private bank in New York.
  • Financial institutions such as First Union create private banks under their umbrellas. First Union’s is called Private Capital Management Group and has approximately 50 offices. Other banks like Citibank and Bank of America offer private bank services to select clients.
  • Private bank services often are influenced by the geographical areas in which they’re located. A private banker in Silicon Valley needs to know about biotech and software products, while Kentucky personal bankers may need to know horses.
3. Study accounting, banking, or finance while in college.

  • An MBA isn’t as important as having diverse knowledge and background.
4. Make certain you have the right kind of personality to be a successful wealth manager.

  • Outgoing with good people skills.
  • Customer service oriented.
  • Always reachable by phone.
  • Experience or connection to wealthy people, also known as HNWIs (high net worth individuals), can be helpful.
5. Gain experience in the banking industry, particularly in investment banking before pursuing a job as a personal banker.

  • Most personal bankers are experienced bankers and wealth managers.
  • Most entry level private bankers start out in junior banking positions, which are limited and stiff with competition.
6. Attend a wealth management trainee program with a financial institution that offers private banker services, but beware of strong competition for limited openings.

  • An outgoing professional with a solid academic background and a wide range of financial knowledge and experience is the typical person attending a wealth manager program.
7. Prepare to work hard in an in-house training or apprentice program that can last as long as five years.

  • Training programs often pair you with a senior mentor from whom to “learn the ropes.”
  • Some companies like Goldman Sachs operate graduate training programs for personal bankers.
8. Manage a team of specialists that can see to a wealthy client’s every need, yet the personal banker remains the point of contact for the client.

9. Develop a wide-based technical knowledge of financial products.

  • Continue your education into investment and tax areas, which are continuously evolving.


  • Currently, Singapore is known for its large number of private banks open to entry level hiring.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 15th, 2011 at 3:03 pm and is filed under Finance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.