JPMorgan cuts five % of Asia wealth management jobs: source

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 10:43 AM

S. bank sharpens its focus on tapping wealthier clients. The work cuts would affect the bank'south Singapore and Hong Kong offices, the source said, declining to be identified because they weren't authorised to speak publicly on the subject.

JPMorgan Chase & Co () has cut thirty jobs, or five % of its headcount, at its Asia wealth management business, a source with direct information of the matter said, as the U. S. bank sharpens its focus on tapping wealthier clients.

The work cuts would affect the bank'south Singapore and Hong Kong offices, the source said, declining to be identified because they weren't authorised to speak publicly on the subject.

JPMorgan said in a statement that Edwin Lim, market manager for N Asia high-networth clients, had left the firm. A spokeswoman declined to comment further on work cuts.

The cuts highlight a decision by the bank to refocus on upper-end Asian clients with $10 million in investable surplus, known as ultra-high networth individuals, up from a $5-million threshold earlier, the source said.

In March latest year, JPMorgan said it'd decided to position its Asia wealth management unit as one private bank serving both the wealthy and the super rich, aligning its business model with other regions.

With 4.7 million individuals with $1 million in liquid financial assets, Asia-Pacific is the largest and fastest growing wealth region, according to Cap Gemini and RBC.

But some Western banks have recently retreated from the wealth management business in Asia due to rising costs, regulatory risks and competition.

British lender Barclays () earlier this mo agreed to sell its wealth and investment management business in Hong Kong and Singapore to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) ().

"At J. P. Morgan, we constantly review our coverage to ensure that clients are aligned with the advisors who are best suited to meet their needs," the JPMorgan spokeswoman said in the statement.

"Our integrated team approach to service our clients will stay unchanged and fully covered," the statement said, adding the bank remained open to hiring more in the region to grow its wealth management business.

JPMorgan'south shift in strategy for its wealth management unit began a few months ago and saw the departure of several private bankers who were targeting the high-networth segment, typically with about $5 million liquidity, private banking sources said.

Peter Flavel, the former JPMorgan chief executive of private wealth management at Asia Pacific, joined Royal Bank of Scotland Grouping PLC's () Coutts & Co and Adam & Co. in February.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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