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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 17, 2016 6 years ago

Hub for millionaires

A wealth management office for uber wealthy people is addressing the millennial issue — both for future clients and employees.
by: Steven Benna Staff Writer

Unlike other wealth managers, the leaders of Tampa's J.P. Morgan Private Bank office don't focus on helping clients plan for retirement.

With a $10 million minimum net worth, eligible clients of the exclusive bank are already set to retire and then some, says Managing Director Royce Reed. For example, the bank helps clients with credit needs that range from a mortgage to an aircraft loan, Reed says.

The Tampa office, launched six years ago, is a hub that serves clients from Orlando to Boca Grande and is one of the fastest growing wealth management units in the entire $1.05 trillion J.P. Morgan banking system. The office, says Reed, grows assets under management on annual percentage basis from the mid-teens to low 20s. Reed declines to provide specific assets under management figures, but he says to maintain the growth rate, the office must overcome several inside and outside challenges. The office has 18 employees.

Reed and his team mostly seek clients with multi-generational wealth who fall into three primary categories: business owners, corporate executives and people who give to foundations or endowments. “The key is to focus on what we're good at, and that means serving those three primary client types,” Reed says.

An external issue the office faces is to build brand awareness while differentiating its services not only from competitors, but also from Chase, the commercial bank side of the company that's mass marketed. “You can't watch TV for an hour or two without seeing a Chase credit card commercial,” Reed says.

The J.P. Morgan private bank side takes the opposite approach, only telling its story to narrow audiences, Reed says. “We keep our name away from the public on purpose,” he says. “We don't even attach our name to events because our clients don't want the attention.”

That makes one-on-one prospecting for clients a crucial tactic. Reed says global finance and CEO councils are prime areas for getting to a one-on-one. Referrals from advisers, attorneys, accountants and existing clients also generate client leads, he says.

A key internal obstacle is to find, hire and keep top talent.

Current employees have joined the office with a variety of expertise, including former investment bankers, commercial bankers and trust attorneys. Employees from other J.P. Morgan branches are also drawn by the appeal of living in Florida.

Recruiting younger employees is another part of the plan. The University of Florida refers top master's of finance students to Reed's team, which is a big advantage. “These are students that would otherwise go to Wall Street,” Reed says.

Another ongoing challenge is responding to the rapid pace of what's next in finance. “Every industry in the world deals with 'how do you respond to changing market environments, technology, consumer buying behaviors?' And our industry is no different than that,” Reed says.

The bank, to respond to those changes and to position itself to grab market share from the next generation of wealthy people — millennials — is on the verge of a major digital upgrade. Reed says he can't share details but says they're making an already good platform more robust.

“We know that the millennial who isn't our client today but will be when they're the business owner 10 or 15 years from now because they built a nice widget that they grew into a big company, we've got to appeal to them,” Reed says. “I don't think there will ever be an app for what we do, but there will be an app for some of the things we do.”

Follow Steven Benna on Twitter @steve_benna

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