JPMorgan considering China onshore private bank business


HONG KONG • JPMorgan Chase & Co is considering setting up a private bank in China as new regulations give foreign firms a better chance to compete with local players in the world’s second-biggest pool of wealthy people.

The New York-based bank is doing a “feasibility study” on China’s onshore wealth business as part of broader plans to expand in the nation, said Kam Shing Kwang, CEO of JPMorgan’s private banking business in Asia. Deliberations are at an early stage and any business would start “not in the distant future”, she said, declining to elaborate.

CEO Jamie Dimon has vowed to bring JPMorgan’s “full force” to China as policymakers open up their financial sector. Rivals UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, which already have a domestic wealth presence, are looking to boost operations in the market that was earlier protected by stiff regulations and strong competition from homemade brands.

JPMorgan has also sought permission to run a majority owned securities joint venture in China. The move follows policymakers’ decision last year to treat overseas financial institutions the same as local companies, which allows global firms the chance to build the necessary infrastructure and expertise.

The biggest international firms mostly manage Chinese money from offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, Asia’s offshore financial centres.

That may change as China further opens, given the potential for private banks: Boston Consulting Group estimates that personal wealth in the nation surged to a record US$24 trillion (RM97.68 trillion) in 2018, with only US$1 trillion held abroad.

JPMorgan plans to hi re in China across banking, asset management, custodian services and markets, Mark Leung, CEO for China, said in September. — Bloomberg