Private bankers hit the provinces

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Fancy escaping the City? Now might be the time to metamorphose into a private banker. Despite the gloom, millionaire households are increasing exponentially in the UK, and they're not restricted to Chelsea and Fulham.

The growing affluence of cities like Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle has prompted private banks to open more regional offices, says Somerled Macdonald, a partner at executive search firm Redgrave Partners.

Goldman, Kleinwort Benson, Coutts, UBS and Allied Irish are all in Birmingham, for example. And in April Brown Shipley unveiled plans to open a new Birmingham office.

Enthusiasm for the provinces comes despite the fact that the average West Londoner has twice the amount of cash to spend than the average provincial Joe.

Expansion outside London spells recruitment, says Mark Somers of specialist wealth management headhunter, The Somers Partnership.

"There will always be strong demand for player managers who can gather assets as well as build and manage the team," he says. It will probably help if you know some rich people in the regions, however.

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