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Fiduciary Assets Bank of America Trust Performance Report Wells Fargo trust companies executive priorities assets revenue expenses A.M. Publishing peer comparison new record S&P DJIA financial institutions trust banks Bernard Garbo Asset Growth Strong, but Less Than Stock Indices; Revenues Set New Record

(Sept. 27, 2021 --Chicago, IL) -- Trust institutions reported strong year-over-year asset growth in the first half of 2021, reflecting stock market performance, according to Trust Performance Report's semiannual update. However, asset growth among trust institutions was significantly below the growth of the Standard & Poor's 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average for the same period.

Bank of America's trust division saw total assets increase by 24 percent, propelling them to just over $1 trillion.

Wells Fargo was the only trillion-dollar institution to report a decline in total assets.

Revenue growth in the first half of 2021 set a new record: 14 percent. Not since the first half of 2011, when revenue growth was 11 percent, has midyear growth been in the double digits.

Industry productivity improved, according to preliminary findings by Fiduciary Earnings & Expenses 2021. FEE is a sister publication of TPR and scheduled to be published at the end of October.

Bank of America & Wells Fargo

Bank of America's trust division reported year-to-date asset growth of 8 percent, in line with the industry's average for the first half of 2021. However, it reported a 24 percent spike in assets compared to the first half of 2020. BofA's trust division reported strong growth in almost all asset categories, with the largest dollar increases in custody and employee benefit trust accounts. BofA's focus is more on traditional trust products, such as employee trust, personal trust, and investment management accounts, than is that of most of the other nine (9) trillion-dollar institutions.

The only trillion-dollar institution to report a decline in assets was Wells Fargo. The bank's trust division reported an asset decline of 9 percent from the same time period in the prior year and, year to date, a decline of 8 percent. It reported the largest asset decline in employee benefit trusts and agencies, primarily in defined-contribution accounts.

Asset Overview

Trust institutions reported weighted-average asset growth of 20 percent, compared to the first half of 2020. The S&P reported year-over-year growth of nearly 35 percent, while the DJIA reported better than 43 percent growth.

As of June 30, 2021, the S&P reported year-to-date growth of nearly 13 percent, while the DJIA reported better than 14 percent growth. Trust institutions reported average growth of 8 percent.

This is in contrast to the first half of 2020 when trust institutions outperformed indices, with asset growth of 4 percent compared to the S&P's growth of 3.4 percent and the DJIA's declines of nearly 6 percent.

Trust institutions' asset growth appears not to have been dampened by loss of business. New-account growth for the industry was a weighted average of 3 percent.

Revenue Overview

Based on historical data, Trust Performance Report projects that total annual gross revenues for the trust industry will be up by some 9 percent in 2021 compared to the prior year. TPR estimates industry year-end gross revenues of nearly $50 billion, a new all-time record.

Revenue growth was expected to increase in 2021, based on A.M. Publishing/Trust Performance Report's annual survey of trust executives conducted in March and April of 2021. However, growth was expected to be minimal, because the smallest percentage of respondents in a decade, just 12 percent, reported having plans to raise fees.

More than fee increases, however, seem to be driving the spike in revenues. Revenue growth benefits from spikes in asset growth, as trust fees are based on trust assets.

Trust Performance Report/A.M. Publishing's annually surveys bank trust divisions and independent trust companies. The survey is conducted in March and April. Data for the semiannual is primarily drawn from bank call reports.

For sample copies and for information on ordering, see below.

Trust Performance Report -- annual data book, published in May (June in 2020), provides both industry and peer group performance data by assets, gross revenue, net income, and account category. Subscribers receive quarterly updates. TPR findings are based on its annual survey of the top 1200 fiduciary institutions. For more best practices and benchmark data see TPR. For information on ordering click here or the link below.

Fiduciary Earnings & Expenses -- annual data book compares performance among independent trust companies to that of OCC national trust companies and to bank trust divisions. For information on ordering click here or the link below.

For Sample copies of both publications click here and then, on the web page, check "Trust Performance Report."

Data Files -- a spreadsheet version of Trust Performance Report is available. For more information on rates, please visit … Discounts apply for subscribers to Trust Performance Report. For more information on discounts, please email:

No statement in this issue is offered as or should be construed as legal opinion or advice or as an indicator of future performance.
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