JPMorgan is planning to double its advisor force to go head-to-head with wealth giants like Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley (JPM)

JPMorgan US Wealth Management Chief Executive Officer Kristin Lemkau

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JPMorgan is setting out to double the size of its financial advisor force catering to high-net-worth clients, executives said on Thursday, underlining the bank’s quest to catch up to larger wealth management firms it has trailed in size.

The bank is planning to hire around 500 financial advisors to work in its JPMorgan Advisors business, which sits within JPMorgan’s wider US wealth management business run by Chief Executive Kristin Lemkau. This group, which currently houses 450 advisors, is separate from the firm’s private bank and its branch-based advisors, which are also hiring quickly around the US. 

Lemkau and Phil Sieg, who runs JPMorgan Advisors, envision doubling Sieg’s advisor headcount to 1,000 in roughly the next five to seven years, but they have not committed to a firm timeline. The growth will primarily come from external recruitment with some internal hiring into the group. 

“The belief is that 1,000 is the right balance between getting the strength in numbers to have a more consistent reinvestment in the business, but still keep what’s a boutique, consistently exceptional client experience,” Lemkau said during a media roundtable Thursday. “And that’s the balance in these things.”

While the bank is the largest in the US, its wealth management business that serves clients who are not ultra-wealthy is smaller than its largest rivals, like Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. 

JPMorgan Wealth Management, which also encompasses the bank’s digital wealth products that a client can use without a financial advisor, oversees some $673 billion as of June. Bank of America and Morgan Stanley’s wealth businesses reported some $4.1 trillion and $4.5 trillion in client assets for the second quarter, respectively.

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Most of Wall Street is angling to beef up the wealth and investment management businesses as historically volatile divisions like trading have grown less profitable over time. Citi and Goldman Sachs are each looking to grow their wealth offerings, and Morgan Stanley bought brokerage E-Trade and asset manager Eaton Vance last year. 

New executive hires

The wealth management business also announced a slate of personnel changes. JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon, Lemkau, and Sieg, who joined the firm last year from Merrill Lynch where his brother, Andy, is president, gathered with financial advisors in New York City on Thursday to share the plans. 

JPMorgan hired Jessica Douieb, previously a managing director at Goldman Sachs, as its head of wealth partners, a newly created role focused on serving the wealthiest clients.

Mollie Colavita, a longtime Merrill Lynch executive, is also joining to lead practice management. Sieg held that role with JPMorgan until he was promoted to lead JPMorgan Advisors this spring.

The firm is also promoting Kevin Hale to lead marketing for JPMorgan Advisors and Chase Wealth Management, which is the branch-based advisor unit. 

As it looks to grow its advisor ranks, the bank said it would create a new role called an advisor concierge and assign one to each advisor team. The concierge would help advisors with administrative-focused tasks.

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Source:: Businessinsider – Finance

      

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