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JPMorgan to boost Latin American private-banking team by 25%

JPMorgan Chase is planning to increase headcount in its Latin American private-banking unit by about 25% next year as the firm looks to attract more clients with $5 million to $25 million to invest at the bank.

The additions would add roughly 100 people to the U.S. firm’s private-banking ranks serving the region from foreign offices in Miami, New York, Houston and Geneva, outposts where it has about 430 employees dedicated to the business.

“We have been hiring very aggressively in this segment and will keep doing so,” Edinardo Figueiredo, chief executive officer for JPMorgan’s private-banking business in Latin America, said in an interview. “There’s still a lot to gain.”

JPMorgan, already the biggest private bank serving Latin American clients, is gaining market share as political uncertainty persuades many clients to diversify abroad, according to Figueiredo.

Credit Suisse Group clients pulled as much as 84 billion Swiss francs ($90 billion) from the bank during the first few weeks of the quarter, underlining ongoing concerns over the bank’s restructuring efforts after years of scandals. That’s potentially the worst exodus since the financial crisis.

JPMorgan manages about $180 billion in wealth from Latin American clients, and about 10% of those assets are booked in Geneva.

Banks around the world have been competing for wealthy individuals, bolstering their advisory and lending practices to capture more assets. Citigroup combined its consumer wealth management and private-banking units under a single executive early last year, and Bank of America said in September it formed a new group to expand its offerings to rich clients.

In 2020, JPMorgan started closing its onshore private-banking businesses in Latin American nations such as Brazil and Mexico, ending a decades-long effort to compete locally after deciding it lacked the scale to be profitable. Now, it has only an offshore business serving Latin America clients.

Most of the assets, about $65 billion, are from Mexican clients. Wealthy Brazilians, most of whom invest their money onshore, have $31 billion offshore at JPMorgan, Figueiredo said.

The bank hired 50 people last year, and this year increased the Latin American private-banking team with an additional 20 bankers based in Miami, Figueiredo said.

“Now I have 70 people serving clients with $5 million to $25 million invested with us, and we may get to 100 fast in the next two years,” he said, adding that those clients can access JPMorgan’s entire platform of products, including mortgages.

The bank is also benefiting from a trend among wealthy Latin Americans to get “super global,” he said, citing one Latin American family with apartments in Italy, Paris and the UK. While Brazilians usually buy real estate in Miami, New York or Portugal, customers from Spanish-speaking countries are buying real estate in Madrid, he said, adding that the bank hosted an event there with more than 120 participants.

JPMorgan will post a 20% revenue increase for the private-banking business this year in Latin America, after raising about $13 billion in net new money. That’s on top of $23 billion last year, he said.

“Considering our net new money increase and gains with rising interest rates and strong brokerage activity, we are having the best year since 2010,” Figueiredo said.

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