JPMorgan to double advisers as Wall Street vies for wealthy

[NEW YORK] JPMorgan Chase & Co is planning to more than double the advisers in its traditional broker business as the Wall Street giant plots an expansion in wealth management amid intensifying competition for rich clients.

The bank aims to hire more than 500 advisers in coming years, bringing its total in the unit to 1,000, said Kristin Lemkau, who oversees the lender's US wealth management arm. JPMorgan will also try to knit the unit closer to wealth managers who work in retail branches and help advisers more efficiently guide clients to other parts of the bank.

"We need it to be hands down the best place to work and we need them to believe that with conviction," Ms Lemkau said.

Banks are competing aggressively to serve the growing ranks of America's multi-millionaires and billionaires. Citigroup is expanding wealth management offerings around the globe and Deutsche Bank has added private bankers to cater to the rich, many of whom have seen their assets rise amid roaring stock markets and rising home prices.

The effort will be led by Phil Sieg, a former Bank of America executive who was tapped in April to lead JPMorgan Advisors. The unit is separate from JPMorgan's private bank and from Chase Wealth Management, which has roughly 4,000 wealth managers in US retail branches.

As part of the renewed focus on the unit, JPMorgan also hired Jessica Douieb from Goldman Sachs Group for a new role overseeing wealth partners, and added Mollie Colavita from Bank of America to lead its practice management division. Kevin Hale was promoted to lead marketing for both Chase Wealth Management and JPMorgan Advisors.

JPMorgan Advisors has teams in 21 offices in the US. With the changes, the firm will appoint so-called concierges for each team at JPMorgan Advisors who will help clients connect to other divisions and ensure tighter coordination with its commercial and investment banking arms.

The bank is also piloting a programme in San Francisco where wealth managers in branches refer affluent clients to Mr Sieg's business and vice versa and ultimately share the revenue that's generated. It will expand the programme to New York before rolling it out nationwide later this year.

"We're investing in this business," Mr Sieg said. "It's really good for the teams because it's giving them capacity."


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