There’s something delightfully gauche and at the same time reassuring about the Private Bank. Among one of the most successful but least understood programs at Bank of America, Private Bank is single-minded in its purpose—to build and preserve the wealth of individuals and families. Nationally, Private Bank manages and invests more than $130.5 billion in assets for high-net-worth clients. In the Northwest, it invests more than $7 billion in assets, serving clients through 10 local offices, including the Tacoma office at 820 A St.

“In the highly competitive Puget Sound-area financial services market, investment expertise helps set the Private Bank apart,” boasts Ray Ifert, who recently was elevated to president of the Northwest Region for the Private Bank. “Clients with millions of dollars to invest appreciate our consistent returns, which have outperformed Standards & Poor’s benchmarks for more than five years and our emphasis on the importance of after-tax returns.”

So successful is the program that for the second consecutive year, Private Bank has been ranked by Private Asset Management magazine as the No. 1 money manager for high-net clients.

The Private Bank does not operate in a vacuum, however. Clients get the benefits of the entire Bank of America franchise, says Ifert. Those who have been too busy building wealth to prepare themselves for what Ifert terms a major liquidity event—the sale of their company, for example, or acquisition of another or retirement—benefit from the availability of bank experts who can help them navigate through the regulations and restrictions of the SEC, IRS and capital markets.

“Our clients look to us for products that help centralize financial planning and decision making so solutions take into account their complete financial picture and overall objectives,” says Mike Hansch, senior vice president and manager of the Tacoma Private Bank office. “We have many products that can be customized to help diversify the wealth that corporate executives may have accumulated over time or that may have burgeoned overnight. Increasingly, clients are requesting derivative strategies and alternative investments.”

They’re also requesting assistance in areas they don’t have time to become experts.

“Clients tell us that time is their most valuable commodity,” says Ifert. “It is useful for them to have one personal financial advisor, instead of many purveyors of products and services. We are attempting to carve a niche as the premier investment advisor of choice for the very sophisticated, affluent entrepreneurs and corporate executives that abound in the Northwest market.”

Personalization of the services is among the strengths of the program, says Patricia Campbell, vice president for corporate affairs.

“We identify unique needs of clients and tailor investing and credit solutions to their overall financial objectives,” she says. “Everything we do is customized.”

As examples of precisely how distinctively services can be modified to fit the needs of well-heeled customers, Campbell says the program has provided customized financing for jumbo mortgages, art and antiquities, yachts and aircraft.