Citi said Tuesday that it had hired Gavin Michael from JPMorgan to be its new head of tech for global consumer banking; JPMorgan is replacing him with Bill Wallace, a move that may have been in the works. Image: Bloomberg News
Citi said Tuesday that it had hired Gavin Michael from JPMorgan to be its new head of tech for global consumer banking; JPMorgan is replacing him with Bill Wallace, a move that may have been in the works. Image: Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- J.P. Morgan advisors who oversaw $1.2 billion in client assets are striking out on their own, helped by a Silicon Valley startup with links to secretive big-data firm Palantir Technologies.

David Savir, 32, and Carlos Dominguez, 43, left J.P. Morgan last month to start Miami-based Element Pointe Advisors, which will manage investments and provide oversight for wealthy families. Clients worth more than $50 million often have assets held in trusts and partnerships managed by several institutions, Savir said in an interview.

"Not long ago, if you wanted to get a real-time snapshot of the ownership interest of a particular stock attributable to a person across all those legal entities and accounts, that would take a long time," Savir said. "I don't know if it would've been possible to analyze all of this data on a daily basis without the technology currently available."

The group, which includes former J.P. Morgan colleague Tarek El Gammal-Ortiz, is joining the stream of brokers leaving big banks in a quest for independence as new technology makes reporting, trading and data analysis easier. New offerings include software from Mountain View, California-based Addepar that helps track exposures across a portfolio, update investment values in real time and generate reports at the push of a button.

The startup shares a co-founder with Palantir, the CIA-backed data-gathering firm.

"We've been exceedingly impressed with" Addepar, Savir said. "To understand at all times what your exposure is to different stocks or geographies, to get a clear picture across all your accounts, and to be able to go as granular as any one individual's ownership is, that is hugely important."

Wealthy clients -- often, entrepreneurs who've sold their business -- tend to spread their investments across several advisors, Savir said. Instead of aiming to supplant those relationships, Element Pointe is offering a kind of chief investment officer service to oversee the managers.

Independent advisors can consider smaller mutual funds and other investments that are typically shunned by banks because the funds can't handle a huge influx of money, said Dominguez. They also have greater access than before to private equity and hedge funds amid the rise of family offices managing fortunes.

"They're now making their funds available at much lower investment points than in the past, so we can save our clients significant money by not adding that second layer of fees you get when you have to go through conduits like JPMorgan and other big banks," said Dominguez.

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