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June 13, 2013 12:29 ET

BMO Private Bank Changing Face of Wealth Study: Women Account for Almost 40 percent of Wisconsin's Wealthy

- Thirty-eight percent of the state's affluent are women

- Fifty percent of Wisconsin's wealthy are self-made

- Education matters: 71 percent hold at least a college degree

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - Today BMO Private Bank released the first in a series of studies examining the wealthy in Wisconsin (defined as those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The inaugural report revealed that women make up almost 40 percent of Wisconsin's high-net worth residents.

"It's encouraging to see that women make up such a large portion of Wisconsin's affluent residents," said Jason Stamm, Regional President, Northern States, BMO Private Bank. "However, this isn't surprising, given that studies indicate that women's wealth is increasing approximately eight percent a year and they're taking a leading role in household financial decisions."

Stamm added, "If the financial services industry is going to be effective in addressing the needs of women, we need to understand that women are looking for clear, honest, and relevant communication, as well as solutions that are specific to their life circumstances."

The study also revealed that half of Wisconsin's affluent are self-made, having made the majority of their wealth on their own. Stamm noted, "It's encouraging to see that there are so many self-made in the state. It speaks to Wisconsin's ability to create an environment in which hard work and determination are recognized and rewarded."

Other key findings from the study included:

  • Education matters - almost three quarters of Wisconsin's wealthy have a college degree.
  • Eighteen percent of high-net worth residents are "new Americans", having either immigrated to the U.S. themselves or having at least one parent born outside of the country, well below the national average of 32 percent.

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found the following:

  • Only three percent of Americans attributed their wealth to receiving an inheritance.
  • Women make up more than one-third of the nation's wealthy.
  • One-quarter of all high net worth Americans are under the age of 40.
  • Education is a big indicator of wealth with 54 percent of high net worth Americans possessing a graduate or professional degree; just eight percent only hold a high school diploma or less.
  • One-third of affluent Americans were either born outside of the United States or are first generation Americans, with at least one parent born elsewhere. Within this group of "new Americans", an overwhelming 80 percent reported that their wealth was self-made.

About BMO Private Bank, a Part of BMO Financial Group

BMO Private Bank offers a comprehensive range of wealth management services that include investment advisory, trust, banking and financial planning to meet the financial needs of high net worth clients. Through integrated teams of experienced financial professionals, BMO Private Bank helps its clients realize their financial and lifestyle goals with solutions that are custom tailored and delivered with the highest level of personalized service.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 482 American adults who have $1M+ in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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