JP Morgan Loses Vet Broker to Wells, Shifts Role of Private Bank Manager
The collateral effects of JP Morgan Chase’s new wealth management client-stratification strategies are starting to be felt within its advisory and management ranks.
Jeremy Geller, who built his reputation servicing hedge fund and private equity firm executives in Connecticut and environs, and tried to replicate that success in Silicon Valley, shifted this week to guide the lower-tier ranks of JP Morgan private bankers working with accounts below $5 million.
In Chicago, veteran broker Ned Kennedy has left J.P. Morgan Securities to start a new branch of high-net-worth brokers for Wells Fargo Advisors in the Windy City, according to well-placed sources within and outside the bank.
Kennedy has run branches and complexes for Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, Montgomery Securities and other firms during a 31-year brokerage career that began at Morgan Stanley and Kidder, Peabody. At Wells Fargo, he will manage upper-tier Wells brokers who the firm absorbed from Credit Suisse and who will move to the 39th floor of a building at 30 South Wacker Drive.
Neither Kennedy nor Geller returned calls for comment, but their moves were confirmed by well-placed sources inside and outside the banks.
Geller’s appointment is being viewed with jaundiced eyes by some current and former private bankers who have been upset with JP Morgan’s segmentation strategies. The bank a year ago doubled minimum account requirements for its premier clients to $10 million and centralized their servicing among teamed bankers, while shifting millionaires below that level to solo practitioners who were given less wealth management service support.
Low morale among the lower-tier “private client direct” group of bankers, who receive salary and bonuses rather than the grid-based payouts of JP Morgan Securities brokers, may be exacerbated by Geller’s appointment to lead national strategy for them from New York, sources said. That is because the managing director’s two-year stint running a financial institutions team of some 100 bankers and advisers in Palo Alto and San Francisco ended with limited success. Though still esteemed by bank executives since his return in 2015, his appointment at private client direct indicates management’s lack of strong support for the group, they said.
A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment.
In Chicago, Kennedy served for a time as a regional director for JPMorgan Securities, but in recent years ran his own book without management responsibilities from a suburban Chicago branch in Northbrook.
JP Morgan’s wealth management brokerage business suffered a wave of departures of seasoned advisers late last year and early in 2017 amid cost-cutting and uncertainty on strategic direction of the bank’s disparate wealth management efforts.