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Private Wealth Management in Canada

Global economies are witnessing significant changes in terms of economic growth, international trade, growing prosperity and increased rate of investment. The globalization of economies and liberalization of trade has created new markets leading to significant growth in consumerism and increasing opportunities to earn money and accumulate wealth. This has led to a significant growth of wealthy individuals across the globe.

Canada is a developed economy that has witnessed healthy economic growth over the past few decades. It is the 9th largest economy in the world that is increasingly integrated with the US economy that accounts for nearly 79 percent of its exports. The country has a real GDP growth rate of approximately 2. 7 percent during the period 2003 to 2007 (Economist, 2009). The country has high concentration of wealthy individuals accounting for more than 2 percent of the global wealth market between 2000 and 2005.

The total assets managed on behalf of wealthy investors increased from US$ 12244 billion in the year 2000 to US$ 1896 billion in the year 2005. The country is home to more than 19 billionaires out of 793 billionaires worldwide having a net worth of US$ 71 billion in the year 2005 (IFS, 2006). The table

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below provides a comprehensive picture of the global distribution of wealth and the relative position of Canada in global wealth perspective. Global statistics of billionaires and millionaires (2005) Source: International Financial Services, 2006)

The Barclays Wealth Insight report (2007) predicts that the number of high net worth households having net worth in excess of US$ 1 million, in Canada will increase by an average of 220 percent over the next decade increasing to 426 in the year 2016 from 133 in the year 2006. 2. The competitive landscape of the private wealth management industry The concept of private wealth management has been evolving for decades parallel to the growth in banking products and services.

Since 1990s banks and financial institutions have initiated various products and services that cater to the needs of the increasing number of high net worth individuals across the globe. In United States the wealthy and high net worth individuals contracted the services of specialized financial institutions to manage their assets and wealth that provided them with the scope to invest their money in profitable ventures. The focus of these investment strategies was to enable growth of income, manage liquid assets, and minimize market risks.

These specialized services are offered by banks, financial brokers, dealers and insurance companies. The extent of services offered by these institutions range from investment advice related to financial planning, tax and legal advice, private banking, investment management, portfolio management, and asset management. The typical investment options include stocks, equity, mutual funds and other financial products that are tailored to meet client specific demands.

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