Barry Sommers, head of J.P. Morgan’s 415-strong advisory group, formerly Bear Stearns Private Client Services, is moving over to the bank-brokerage side of Chase’s business, taking charge of the 2,700 advisors working out of its 5,100 branches.
The move marks a heightened effort to position bank brokerage as a sophisticated planning service for wealthier clients, analysts say. In a release at the time of the announcement, Charlie Scharf, head of retail financial services at the bank and Sommers’ boss, conceded that “we can do far more for the affluent clients who already like doing business with Chase,” at branches and via ATMs. Affluent clients, those with $500,000 or more in investable assets, make up just 8% of the bank’s entire customer base and yet account for two-thirds of all deposits and investments. Chase reckons that it has, one way or another, 5% of its wealthy clients’ wallet share, but the potential is much higher should Sommers be successful. Scharf says that investment services had the potential to double its pretax profits to $1 billion annually.
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