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Chase Private Client, an under-the-radar wealth management unit of the giant bank, plans to open 160 offices to serve 600 branches around the country in two years, up from only 16 dedicated offices currently, JPMorgan Chase &Co. announced Tuesday.

Chase Private Client was launched quietly as a pilot program in 2007 for affluent Chase customers who don’t have enough liquid assets to qualify as clients for J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Clients are served by both a banker, who can offer preferred rates, waived fees and specialized lending and mortgage products and an investment advisor, who provides access to J.P. Morgan’s market research and commentaries. Clients also have access to a 24/7 service hotline.

“Chase Private Client is recognition and response to the evolving needs of our affluent Chase customers,” Barry Sommers, chief executive of Chase Wealth Management, said in a statement.

Targeting clients who have more than $500,000 in investable assets but less than the millions needed for J.P. Morgan Private Bank is “a smart move,” said Alois Pirker, research director and senior analyst for Boston-based Aite Group.

Wealth managers focusing on the high-end of the market are facing profitability pressures, Pirker said, and aiming for a mass affluent market that need financial advice as well as banking services made sense. “It’s an under-served market, and using a tech platform helps greatly with scale,” he said.

Chase opened the first of its new-look Private Client offices today at Broadway and 61st Street in Manhattan, and expects to be in 250 branches around the country at the end of the year.

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