Strategy

JP Morgan Revamps US Wealth Arm

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 13 December 2019

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The largest US bank is upgrading the wealth management arm of the firm that serves clients with wealth of up to $25 million, a process taking place against a background of intensifying competition on a number of fronts.

JP Morgan is going after the wealth management space more aggressively, changing its business units to compete more effectively with rivals such as Morgan Stanley. 

The US bank is creating a unit that will combine its US wealth-management operations for affluent clients and the Chase branch network’s financial-advisory business, according to a memo seen by Family Wealth Report and other media. The restructured business will also include JP Morgan’s new You lnvest online brokerage, the memo said.

“The firm’s JP Morgan advisors across Chase Wealth Management and JP Morgan Securities will become one business unit - US Wealth Management,” the memo, written by Gordon Smith, who is co-president and chief operating officer, and Mary Callahan Erdoes, chief executive of JP Morgan Asset and Wealth Management, said. “Digital Wealth Management and the You Invest team will also become part of this business. The combined business will have [about] $400 billion in assets under management and [about] 4,000 advisors who work out of 3,500 branches and 21 offices.” 

The memo said that Kristin Lemkau will become CEO of US Wealth Management, reporting to Smith, and serving on Callahan Edoes' AWM Operating Committee. Lemkau had been chief marketing officer of JP Morgan Chase. She has worked with Smith and the CEOs of the consumer and community banking businesses. She’s been at the firm for 21 years.

The bank is competing against banks and technology-driven start-ups pitching to Millennials and “first-time” investors. The space is in ferment: Charles Schwab’s recently-announced agreement to buy TD Ameritrade will bolster the former’s standing as the largest US discount broker.

The wealth management arm serves the client segment with up to $25 million of investible assets. JP Morgan’s private bank serves clients, meanwhile, higher up the AuM spectrum. The private bank will continue to report to Callahan Edoes and Nicolas Aguzin as the CEO of International business and David Frame as the CEO of the US.

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