Strategy

JP Morgan Turns Up The Heat Over Its Raised AuM Minimums For Wealthy Clients In US

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, London, 13 September 2016

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Reports say the bank has taken a more aggressive approach in enforcing its drive to raise the size of investable assets among wealthy clients.

Lawyers are the latest group of clients to be affected by JP Morgan's decision to focus on ultra-wealthy people and hike investable asset minimums in the US, media reports said.

While lawyers are the latest group affected, the bank's decision to hike its minimum of investable assets to $10 million has affected a range of client types, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal. The move by the bank was reported earlier this year.

The change has been particularly severe on laywers because some of them previously had been given private-bank status even without the $5 million in assets required, the WSJ reported, citing unnamed sources.

The publication said JP Morgan's private bank plans to enforce its new minimums more aggressively, which affects attorneys at firms including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Latham & Watkins; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The WSJ said the exact number of lawyers affected could not be determined.

"We are committed to utilising the full power of JP Morgan Chase to provide the best advice and solutions to meet the needs of law firm partners, their employees and the firms themselves," the bank said in an emailed statement to this news service.

This publication understands that the change only applies to the US market and does not apply in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or Asia.

The move to hike investable asset minimums refreshes debate on a long-standing discussion of what sort of client is the most profitable for a wealth manager or private bank to serve. Some figures have argued that there is a "sweet spot" between retail and ultra-wealthy persons that represents the most profitable type of client, based on the idea that very wealthy clients are so demanding to serve.

 

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