J.P. Morgan Rechristens Traditional Brokers, Targets 50 Hires Annually
J.P. Morgan Chase is giving J.P. Morgan Securities brokers a makeover and a commitment to grow the business by hiring 50 “top” advisors annually.
“This best recognizes the core of our value proposition—you, the advisors,” J.P. Morgan Advisors Chief Executive Chris Harvey told them in an email on Tuesday.
The bank also is distributing new business cards identifying the brokers to the public as J.P. Morgan “wealth advisors” rather than financial advisors. “This new name better conveys the clients you serve and the J.P. Morgan brand,” Harvey wrote.
Some brokers said the changes aim to clarify long-time internal and external confusion about their roles and turf versus those of Chase Wealth Management private client brokers who prospect mass affluent customers from branches, and the salaried teams of private bankers who woo wealthy bank clients from wood-paneled bank offices.
The confusion, though, could be exacerbated by the bank’s December decision to fold its three brokerage channels—J.P. Morgan Securities/Advisors, Chase Wealth brokers and the YouInvest digital robo trading platform—into a single customer-facing brand called J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, while keeping the Private Bank a separate brand.
“These business units will continue to have separate names, unique cultures and identities,” Harvey told brokers in his email. “To clients, we will be one business, here to deliver outstanding service when and how they want.”
The wealth management conglomerate, led by Harvey’s boss Kristin Lemkau, was formally launched through a new website on Monday and aims to attract clients from first-time investors to billionaires, officials said.
The clearer message that some erstwhile J.P. Morgan Securities brokers said they received in a conference call Monday afternoon with Lemkau and Harvey was that the bank is committed to growing the traditional brokerage business.
Harvey plans to recruit “the best fifty advisors each year,” his email said, in addition to replacing brokers who leave or retire.
In the past two weeks, J.P. Morgan hired a $4-million producer from Merrill Lynch in San Francisco and a three-broker $2.5-million Morgan Stanley team in Philadelphia, but lost a high-profile trio in New York managing $1.2 billion to RBC Wealth Management.
Harvey also said he plans to broaden an “existing practice” covering upper high net worth families into a unit called “Wealth Partners.” It will offer services to advisors with at least ten $10-million relationships, said a person familiar with the segmentation strategy. Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS Wealth Management have similar units for “private wealth” advisors.
On the broader question of when advisors will be asked to return to J.P. Morgan Advisors’ 21 offices, Harvey hinted that some brokers and staff may be able to work remotely for as long as they like.
“The firm’s approach is based both on employee safety, and also who has proven they can work remotely and remain effective,” he wrote. “We are going to maintain and enhance our current footprint and also embrace the work-from-home environment. For the remainder of COVID, continue to work as you have.”