Northern Trust launches gay, lesbian wealth management biz

Jan 5, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

By Steve Daniels

Northern Trust Corp. long has championed its conservative heritage as a 121-year-old financial institution that eased through the Great Depression and most recently the Great Recession.

But old dogs are learning new tricks, as Chicago's largest bank announced Tuesday the formation of a new practice to handle the wealth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender households.

John McGowan, 52, a 13-year Northern veteran who most recently was a senior relationship manager serving high-net-worth individuals and family offices, was named national practice leader for the LGBT unit.

While numerous wealth management firms have lesbian and gay clients, Northern appears to be one of the few to have formalized a unit to serve that niche, according to industry experts.

The practice, which will focus in part on the complex estate and tax issues faced by same-sex domestic partners, has been operating on a pilot basis in Chicago for the last year and will be established soon in Northern's other big markets: Southern California and South Florida, Mr. McGowan said.

“We do believe the definition of family has evolved, and the legal definition has not kept pace,” Mr. McGowan said.

Examples include tax policies that make it more difficult for same-sex couples to transfer wealth from one partner to the other without incurring hefty gift and estate taxes. Married couples can transfer wealth to each other tax-free.

Mr. McGowan, who is openly gay, points out that Northern has offered benefits to same-sex couples for 13 years. That often surprises outsiders, who assume Northern's conservative financial principles translate into cultural conservatism.

“It does come as a bit of a surprise to people, and I'm happy to debunk their impressions,” he said. “I feel very proud and comfortable bringing this program to our front-line ranks and customers.”

Over time, it will be available in all 18 states in which Northern has branches.

Steve Daniels is a reporter with Crain's Chicago Business, an InvestmentNews sister publication, where this story originally appeared.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Most watched

INTV

Young professionals see lots of opportunity to reinvent the advice experience

Members of the 2019 InvestmentNews class of 40 Under 40 have strategies to overcome the challenges of being young in a mature industry.

INTV

Young advisers envision a radically different business in five years

Fintech and sustainable investing are two factors being watched closely by some of the 2019 class of InvestmentNews' 40 Under 40.

Latest news & opinion

New Jersey fiduciary rule: Pressure leads to public hearing, comment deadline extension

Industry push results in chance to air grievances on July 17 and another month to present objections.

InvestmentNews' 2019 class of 40 Under 40

Our 40 Under 40 project, now in its sixth year, highlights young talent in the financial advice industry. These individuals illustrate the tremendous potential of those coming up in the profession. These stories will surprise, entertain, educate and inspire.

Galvin to propose fiduciary rule for Massachusetts brokers

The secretary of the commonwealth is proposing a fiduciary standard in response to an SEC investment-advice rule he views as too weak.

Summer reading recommendations from financial advisers

Here are some books that will keep you informed and entertained during summer's downtime

4 strategies for Roth conversions

There's never been a better time to do a Roth conversion, and here are several ways to go about it.

X

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print