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Company > Northern Trust: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Northern Trust: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jan 27, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model of Northern Trust, a leading financial services company, and analyze its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis. By examining the company's business model, we aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of its operations and strategic positioning in the market. Additionally, we will explore the competitive landscape by identifying Northern Trust's key competitors and assessing their potential impact on the company's future growth and success in the year 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Northern Trust and the significance of its ownership structure.
    • The mission statement of Northern Trust and its guiding principles.
    • How Northern Trust generates revenue and the key drivers of its business model.
    • An in-depth explanation of the Northern Trust Business Model Canvas and its components.
    • The major competitors of Northern Trust and how they compare in the market.
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of Northern Trust, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    Who owns Northern Trust?

    Ownership Structure of Northern Trust

    Northern Trust Corporation is a publicly traded company, listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol NTRS. As a result, its ownership is distributed among various shareholders who hold its common stock.

    Institutional Investors

    Many institutional investors hold significant stakes in Northern Trust. According to the latest available data, the largest institutional shareholder is The Vanguard Group, an investment management company, owning approximately 10% of the company's outstanding shares. Other notable institutional investors include BlackRock, State Street Corporation, and Wellington Management Company.

    Insider Ownership

    Insider ownership refers to the percentage of shares held by the company's executives, directors, and other insiders. As of the most recent filings, insider ownership of Northern Trust stands at around 1%. These insiders typically include top-level executives, board members, and other individuals closely associated with the company's management.

    Mutual Funds and ETFs

    Northern Trust is also held by numerous mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These funds allow individual and institutional investors to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of stocks, including shares of Northern Trust. Some popular mutual funds that hold shares of Northern Trust include the T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund and the American Funds Washington Mutual Investors Fund.

    Retail Investors

    Retail investors, which include individual shareholders who purchase shares through brokerage accounts, also contribute to Northern Trust's ownership. These investors can buy and sell the company's stock on public stock exchanges, representing a diverse range of individuals who believe in the company's long-term growth potential.


    As a publicly traded company, Northern Trust has a broad ownership base comprising institutional investors, insiders, mutual funds, ETFs, and retail investors. This diverse ownership structure reflects the company's appeal to different types of investors and underscores its position as a trusted financial institution in the market.

    What is the mission statement of Northern Trust?

    The Mission Statement of Northern Trust

    Northern Trust, a leading global financial institution, has a clear and concise mission statement that serves as the guiding principle for its operations and decision-making processes. The mission statement of Northern Trust is to provide exceptional financial services to its clients, while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and trust.

    Commitment to Client Service

    At the core of Northern Trust's mission is a strong commitment to client service. The institution believes in building long-term partnerships with its clients and providing them with personalized solutions that meet their unique financial needs. Whether it is wealth management, asset servicing, or investment management, Northern Trust strives to exceed client expectations by delivering innovative and tailored services.

    Upholding Integrity and Trust

    Integrity and trust are fundamental values that Northern Trust upholds in all aspects of its business. The mission statement reflects the institution's unwavering commitment to conducting its operations with honesty, transparency, and fairness. Northern Trust believes that maintaining the trust of its clients, employees, and stakeholders is essential for long-term success and sustainable growth.

    Embracing Innovation and Technology

    Northern Trust recognizes the importance of embracing innovation and technology to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving financial landscape. The institution understands that leveraging cutting-edge technology and digital solutions is crucial to providing seamless and efficient financial services to its clients. Northern Trust's mission statement reflects its dedication to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in order to deliver best-in-class solutions.

    Fostering a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

    Northern Trust acknowledges the value of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and excellence. The institution's mission statement emphasizes its commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment that values diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. Northern Trust believes that by embracing diversity, it can better serve its clients and create a more inclusive and equitable society.


    The mission statement of Northern Trust encapsulates its commitment to delivering exceptional financial services while upholding integrity, trust, and innovation. By focusing on client service, maintaining high ethical standards, embracing technology, and fostering diversity and inclusion, Northern Trust strives to be a trusted partner for its clients and a leader in the financial industry.

    How does Northern Trust make money?

    Investment Management and Services

    Northern Trust primarily generates revenue through its investment management and services division. This division offers a wide range of investment solutions to institutional and individual clients, helping them achieve their financial goals.

    Asset Management

    One of the key ways Northern Trust generates revenue is through its asset management services. The company offers a diverse portfolio of investment products, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and separately managed accounts. These products are designed to cater to different risk appetites and investment objectives, allowing clients to diversify their portfolios and maximize returns.

    Wealth Management

    Northern Trust also generates revenue by providing wealth management services to high-net-worth individuals and families. These services include personalized investment advice, financial planning, tax planning, trust and estate services, and philanthropic solutions. By offering tailored solutions, Northern Trust aims to help clients preserve and grow their wealth over the long term while addressing their unique financial needs.

    Fund Administration and Custody

    Another significant revenue stream for Northern Trust is its fund administration and custody services. The company acts as a custodian for a wide range of investment vehicles, such as mutual funds, pension funds, and hedge funds. It provides services such as trade settlement, safekeeping of assets, fund accounting, and reporting. These services help clients streamline their operations, enhance transparency, and ensure regulatory compliance.

    Corporate and Institutional Services

    Apart from investment management, Northern Trust also generates revenue through its corporate and institutional services division, which caters to the needs of corporations, government entities, and not-for-profit organizations.

    Treasury Management

    Northern Trust offers treasury management services to help organizations optimize their cash flows, manage liquidity, and mitigate financial risks. These services include cash management, payment processing, liquidity solutions, foreign exchange services, and risk management strategies. By providing efficient treasury solutions, Northern Trust helps clients improve their financial efficiency and maximize returns on their cash holdings.

    Securities Services

    Northern Trust is a leading provider of securities services, offering solutions such as global custody, securities lending, and investment operations outsourcing. These services help institutional clients manage the complexities of their investment portfolios and ensure efficient settlement and safekeeping of assets. By leveraging its global network and expertise, Northern Trust enhances clients' operational efficiency and helps them achieve their investment objectives.

    Corporate Trust Services

    Northern Trust's corporate trust services involve acting as a trustee for debt issuances, including bonds, loans, and structured finance products. The company provides services such as bond trustee, escrow agent, and paying agent, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. These services help clients raise capital, manage debt obligations, and maintain investor confidence.

    In summary, Northern Trust generates revenue through various divisions, primarily through its investment management and services division. By offering a comprehensive suite of investment solutions and financial services, Northern Trust caters to the diverse needs of its clients and helps them achieve their financial objectives.

    Northern Trust Business Model Canvas Explained

    Introduction to the Business Model Canvas

    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that provides a visual representation of a company's business model. It allows organizations to analyze, design, and communicate their business models in a structured and concise manner. In this section, we will explore the Northern Trust Business Model Canvas and delve into its key components.

    Key Components of the Northern Trust Business Model Canvas

    1. Customer Segments: Northern Trust primarily serves institutional investors, corporations, and high-net-worth individuals. By understanding the unique needs and preferences of these customer segments, Northern Trust tailors its services and solutions to meet their specific requirements.

    2. Value Proposition: Northern Trust offers a range of financial services, including asset servicing, asset management, wealth management, and banking solutions. Its value proposition lies in providing clients with innovative and customized solutions, exceptional client service, and a deep understanding of the global financial landscape.

    3. Channels: Northern Trust leverages various channels to deliver its services to clients. These channels include direct sales teams, relationship managers, online platforms, and strategic partnerships. By utilizing a multi-channel approach, Northern Trust ensures that clients can access its services through their preferred channels.

    4. Customer Relationships: Building strong and long-lasting relationships with clients is a core focus for Northern Trust. The company employs relationship managers who are dedicated to understanding clients' needs, providing personalized advice, and maintaining regular communication. Additionally, Northern Trust invests in technology-driven solutions to enhance client experiences and streamline interactions.

    5. Revenue Streams: Northern Trust generates revenue through the fees it charges for its services. These fees can vary depending on the type and complexity of the services provided. Revenue streams include fees for asset servicing, investment management, wealth management, and banking services.

    6. Key Activities: The key activities of Northern Trust revolve around providing asset servicing, asset management, wealth management, and banking solutions. These activities include investment research and analysis, portfolio management, risk management, financial reporting, and compliance. Northern Trust also focuses on continuous innovation to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving financial industry.

    7. Key Resources: To effectively deliver its services, Northern Trust relies on a range of key resources. These resources include a highly skilled workforce, cutting-edge technology infrastructure, robust risk management systems, and strategic partnerships. By investing in these resources, Northern Trust ensures its ability to meet the diverse needs of its clients.

    8. Key Partnerships: Northern Trust collaborates with various strategic partners to enhance its service offerings and expand its global reach. These partnerships may include technology vendors, financial institutions, industry associations, and regulatory bodies. By leveraging the expertise and capabilities of its partners, Northern Trust can provide comprehensive and integrated solutions to its clients.

    9. Cost Structure: Northern Trust incurs costs associated with its operations, technology infrastructure, employee compensation, marketing, and regulatory compliance. Its cost structure is designed to ensure efficient operations while delivering sustainable profitability.


    The Northern Trust Business Model Canvas provides a holistic view of how the company creates, delivers, and captures value. By understanding the key components of the canvas, stakeholders can gain insights into Northern Trust's strategic approach, competitive advantages, and the ways in which it meets the needs of its clients. This understanding is crucial for investors, clients, and industry observers to evaluate the long-term sustainability and growth potential of Northern Trust.

    Which companies are the competitors of Northern Trust?


    When it comes to the financial services industry, competition is fierce. Northern Trust, a leading provider of wealth management, asset servicing, and asset management services, has a number of competitors vying for market share. In this section, we will explore some of the key players in the industry that pose a challenge to Northern Trust's position.

    Competitor 1: J.P. Morgan

    J.P. Morgan is one of the biggest names in the financial industry. With a wide range of services including asset management, investment banking, and private banking, J.P. Morgan competes directly with Northern Trust in the wealth management and asset servicing space. The company's global presence and strong brand recognition make it a formidable competitor for Northern Trust.

    Competitor 2: State Street Corporation

    State Street Corporation, another major player in the financial services industry, offers a range of investment management, research, and trading services. Like Northern Trust, State Street provides asset servicing solutions for institutional investors. With a global footprint and a diverse client base, State Street is a direct competitor to Northern Trust in the asset servicing space.

    Competitor 3: BNY Mellon

    BNY Mellon, one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States, offers a wide range of services including asset servicing, wealth management, and investment management. With a strong focus on institutional clients, BNY Mellon competes with Northern Trust in the asset servicing and wealth management arenas. The company's long history and extensive experience give it a competitive edge.

    Competitor 4: BlackRock

    BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm, is a prominent competitor for Northern Trust in the asset management space. With a vast array of investment products and solutions, BlackRock caters to both individual and institutional investors. The company's strong global presence, coupled with its expertise in investment management, poses a significant challenge to Northern Trust's asset management business.

    Competitor 5: Vanguard Group

    Vanguard Group, known for its low-cost index funds and ETFs, is a key competitor for Northern Trust in the asset management industry. Vanguard's focus on passive investment strategies and its commitment to low fees have made it a popular choice among investors. While Northern Trust offers a range of active and passive investment options, Vanguard's reputation as a leader in low-cost investing presents a competitive threat.


    Northern Trust faces fierce competition from a number of companies in the financial services industry. Competitors such as J.P. Morgan, State Street Corporation, BNY Mellon, BlackRock, and Vanguard Group pose significant challenges in various areas, including wealth management, asset servicing, and asset management. Despite the tough competition, Northern Trust's strong reputation, extensive experience, and commitment to client service help it maintain a competitive edge in the industry.

    Northern Trust SWOT Analysis


    • Established reputation: Northern Trust has been in business for over 130 years and has built a strong reputation as a leading provider of financial services. This long history and solid track record give the company a competitive advantage and instill confidence in clients.

    • Global presence: Northern Trust has a strong global presence, with offices in major financial centers around the world. This allows the company to serve a diverse range of clients and tap into different markets, providing a competitive edge over local competitors.

    • Strong client relationships: The company has a strong focus on building and maintaining long-term client relationships. This is evident in Northern Trust's high client retention rates and its ability to attract new clients through referrals and word-of-mouth. The company's personalized approach to client service and its commitment to understanding and meeting client needs contribute to this strength.


    • Dependence on investment management: While Northern Trust offers a range of financial services, it heavily relies on investment management for a significant portion of its revenue. This dependence on a single source of income exposes the company to market fluctuations and economic downturns, which could impact its financial performance.

    • Limited market share: Despite its global presence, Northern Trust has a relatively smaller market share compared to some of its larger competitors. This could limit its ability to negotiate favorable terms with clients and suppliers, as well as hinder its growth potential in certain markets.

    • Lack of diversification: Northern Trust's service offerings are primarily focused on the financial industry, such as asset servicing, wealth management, and investment management. While this specialization allows the company to excel in these areas, it also leaves it vulnerable to changes in the financial industry and limits its ability to diversify into other sectors.


    • Growing demand for ESG investments: There is a growing trend towards socially responsible investing, with more investors seeking companies that align with their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. Northern Trust can capitalize on this opportunity by expanding its ESG investment offerings and promoting its expertise in this area to attract new clients.

    • Technological advancements: The financial industry is undergoing rapid technological advancements, including the rise of digital banking, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. By embracing these technologies and investing in innovative solutions, Northern Trust can enhance its operational efficiency, improve client experience, and stay ahead of competitors.

    • Expansion into emerging markets: As emerging markets continue to grow and their middle class expands, there is an increasing demand for financial services. Northern Trust can explore opportunities to expand its presence in these markets, leveraging its global network and expertise to capture market share and diversify its revenue streams.


    • Intense competition: The financial industry is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Northern Trust faces competition from both traditional financial institutions and new entrants, such as fintech startups. This intense competition could lead to price wars, margin compression, and potential loss of market share.

    • Regulatory challenges: The financial industry is heavily regulated, and compliance with changing regulations can be costly and time-consuming. Northern Trust needs to stay abreast of regulatory developments and ensure its operations and services are in full compliance, or it could face penalties, reputational damage, and loss of client trust.

    • Economic downturns: Northern Trust's financial performance is susceptible to economic downturns, as these can lead to reduced client activity, lower investment returns, and increased credit risk. A global recession, financial crisis, or market volatility could negatively impact the company's profitability and financial stability.

    Key Takeaways

    • Northern Trust is privately owned and has been since its founding in 1889.
    • The mission statement of Northern Trust is to provide exceptional service and expertise to help their clients achieve their financial goals.
    • Northern Trust primarily makes money through its various financial services, including asset management, wealth management, and banking.
    • The Northern Trust Business Model Canvas highlights key aspects of the company's operations, such as their value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and key activities.
    • Competitors of Northern Trust include other global financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, and State Street Corporation.
    • A SWOT analysis of Northern Trust reveals its strengths, such as its long history and strong reputation, weaknesses such as dependence on market conditions, opportunities such as global expansion, and threats such as increasing regulatory scrutiny.


    In conclusion, Northern Trust is owned by its shareholders, who have a vested interest in the company's success. The mission statement of Northern Trust is to provide exceptional service and expertise to help clients achieve their financial goals. This commitment drives their business model and how they make money.

    Northern Trust generates revenue through various channels, including asset servicing, wealth management, and asset management. By offering a comprehensive suite of financial services, they cater to the diverse needs of their clients and ensure a steady stream of income.

    Analyzing Northern Trust's business model canvas reveals the key components that contribute to its success. These include customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships, and cost structure. By focusing on these areas, Northern Trust is able to deliver value to clients and maintain a profitable business model.

    When it comes to competition, Northern Trust faces several rivals in the financial services industry. Companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, and State Street Corporation are some of the key competitors of Northern Trust. These companies offer similar services and compete for market share, which drives innovation and ensures that clients have a range of options to choose from.

    Conducting a SWOT analysis of Northern Trust reveals its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Some of its strengths include a strong brand reputation, a global presence, and a diverse range of financial services. However, weaknesses such as dependence on market conditions and potential cybersecurity threats exist. Opportunities for growth lie in expanding into emerging markets and offering innovative solutions, while threats include regulatory challenges and increasing competition.

    Overall, Northern Trust has established itself as a leading financial services provider, driven by its mission to serve clients and generate sustainable profits. With a robust business model, strong competition, and a clear understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, Northern Trust is well-positioned to continue thriving in the future.

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