Wealth management provided a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster year for most bank holding companies.

In 2012, bank holding companies earned a record $122.3 billion from their wealth management programs, up 3.3% from $118.4 billion in 2011, according to the latest Michael White –IPO Bank Wealth Management Report.

The fourth quarter was especially strong for bank wealth management programs, generating $32.56 billion in income, a 24.7% jump from the previous year and a 13.7% increase from the previous quarter. It was the banks’ best quarter in the six years that such data has been available, according to the report.

“The large jump in banks and BHCs’ wealth management revenue in fourth quarter 2012 reflects the extensive opportunity wealth management presents to financial institutions,” Jay McAnelly, president of Investment Professionals Inc., said in a statement. IPI, an investment brokerage and asset management firm, sponsored the report.

Most of the income came from investment advisory and banking services, which contributed $45.98 billion, or 37.6% of the $122.3 billion earned in 2012. The next largest contributor was securities brokerage, which generated $39.25 billion, or 32.1% of the total. Fiduciary services reeled in $33.99 billion, or 27.8%, and annuities—the smallest contributor—brought in $3.09 billion, or 2.5%.

Of the 579 bank holding companies that reported wealth management income in 2012, 425 (73.4%) earned a minimum of $250,000 from their programs. Of those, 304 (71.5%) showed positive growth in wealth management income over 2011, with 138 exhibiting double-digit growth and 70 growing more than 20%.

J.P. Morgan Chase was 2012’s top producer of wealth management income among bank holding companies with more than $10 billion in assets. Stifel Financial Corp. led banks with $1 billion to $10 billion in assets and First Command Financial Services led those with $500 million to $1 billion. Among the smallest banks—those with less than $500 million—the Harverford Trust Company led the charge.

The report examines data from 7,083 commercial banks, savings banks and savings associations and 1,053 large top-tier banking holding companies operating on Dec. 31, 2012. It was compiled by Michael White Associates, a consulting and research firm based in Radnor, Pa.

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