EverBank Financial (EVER) in Jacksonville, Fla., has launched a new wealth management unit that will target affluent households nationwide. 

The $13 billion-asset EverBank already has a St. Louis-based global markets group that offers alternative investments such as foreign currency exchange and precious metals and the new unit, called EverBank Wealth Management, aims to broaden its asset-management capabilities. EverBank did a soft launch with existing customers last summer and just recently began a marketing campaign to target new clients nationwide, said Frank Trotter, EverBank Wealth Management's chief executive.

Many banks are bulking up their wealth management offerings as way to generate fee income and compensate for thinning margins and shrinking fees from retail deposit accounts. 

Trotter said in a recent interview with American Banker that the company established the unit largely in response to demand from customers of its 13-year-old alternative investment arm. 

EverBank became a publicly traded company last week, so it also now has more resources to absorb the upfront costs of starting a new venture. The company expects to net roughly $171 million from the stock sale.

“We had a good client base to put it out there," Trotter said. "It really was a matter of [making sure] we can support this business and put it out there right.”

EverBank has created a separate website for its wealth management company,  www.everbankwealthmanagement.com.