Private bankers manage the wealth of people with more than US$1 million in assets and earn a fee for their services. The increase in the number of high net worth people means more business for private bankers. However, the supply of private bankers outstrip the demand, leading to high cost and thin margins for the banks. Some banks have started to trim down their numbers of private bankers.
A more important factor is the inability of the private bankers to create wealth, especially in an environment of global recession and falling asset prices. In good times, it is easy to create wealth during a bubble, but it is not real wealth. In bad times, the fictional wealth have to be paid back.
These high income jobs of private bankers have a bigger harm. They make the real jobs, e.g. teachers, nurses, policemen, factory workers - look unattractive. There are insufficient number of people willing to work in these essential services.
The challenges facing the world today - falling birth rate, high unemployment - can be traced to the growth of the financial services sector that takes away too much profit from the real economy. To solve these challenges, we have to start with finding the appropriate measures to control the excesses of this sector.