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Fiduciary Earnings Expenses Pandemic breakeven Assets Trust Performance Report trust companies 2021 2020 2019 banks revenue expenses break even trust divisions A.M. Publishing peer comparison financial institutions trust companies BlackRock Wells Fargo State Street US Bank Northern Trust Chase Citibank Bernard Garbo Trust Executives Confident about Meeting Revenue and Account Growth Targets; Independents Significantly More Confident than Banks

(Nov. 30, 2021 --Chicago, IL) -- Fiduciary Earnings & Expenses 2021's analysis continues to suggest that the best overall model of operation is that of independent trust companies. In 2020, many in the trust industry were re-evaluating how they do business, including assessing whether they wanted to stay in the business.

Productivity remained fairly stable. Expenses continued to grow at historically low rates, which further boosted profit margins.

For sample pages, see link below.

Trust executives at independent trust companies also consistently report lower stress or concern than do executives at bank trust division or national trust company executives--especially when it comes to meeting new business and revenue targets.

FEE 2021's Annual Survey of Trust Assets found that trust executives ranked the pandemic impact on their customers and business as number-five on their list of highest concerns, down from number-one last year. Their highest concerns, ranked in order were meeting revenue growth targets, account growth targets, controlling costs, and continuity planning.

The survey, conducted in March and April 2021, includes bank trust divisions, national trust companies, and independent trust companies.

In reassessing operations, many banks are considering outsourcing or selling, especially smaller trust operations. This is reflected in the meteoric asset growth of Reliance Trust, Atlanta, which specializes in outsourcing services.

Independent Generate Higher Revenues

Independents generate higher revenues and profits per account officer than their bank counterparts. However, bank trust divisions report requiring fewer assets, on average, to generate $1 of revenue, from so-called traditional or P.I.E. (personal trust, investment management agency, and employee benefit account) assets, based on FEE's analysis.

Conversely, independents generate significantly more revenues from custody assets than their bank counterparts.

What may drive the model for independents is their greater tendency to focus on three or fewer product categories. Large independents are more likely to focus their operations on employee benefit accounts, while large banks focus on custody accounts.

Though more institutions than in the prior year are adopting the operating template of independents, the majority of bank trust divisions (62 percent) said they have no plans to do so.

Bank trust divisions continue to favor the full-service model. This may be driven by beneficial synergies between a bank's commercial division and its trust area--which would explain why the data suggest that banks, even large institutions, subsidize trust expenses.

For example, the trust divisions of Citibank, Prudential Bank, and ZB (Zion Bank) reported a profit margin of 80 percent or more. Perhaps their trust operations are significantly more efficient than those of their peers, but it is more likely that the commercial side of the bank is absorbing certain overhead costs. That arrangement, however, does not seem to lower the stress levels of trust executives, as noted above.

Fiduciary Earnings & Expenses 2021 compares performance of some 200 independent trust companies to that of bank trust divisions as well as national trust companies.

For sample pages of Fiduciary Earnings & Expenses 2020 go to For a special introductory price on both Fiduciary Earnings & Expenses and Trust Performance Report go to ; under Subscribe, click on either publication to see special rate.

Trust Performance Report -- annual data book, published in May, 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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