Morgan Reshuffles Top Ranks of Its Private Banking Unit
Holliday, Kalen, American Banker
With competition for affluent consumers heating up, J.P. Morgan & Co. is reshuffling the top ranks of its private banking unit.
Morgan, often hailed as the quintessential private banker, is adding an upper level of management of the unit and bringing in some star talent from other parts ofthe company. The new team is expected to make an especially strong push for overseas business.
John J. Olds, who has been running Euroclear, and bank's Brussels-based European bond clearing unit, will become head of the private bank at the end of June.
The current chief, Arthur Sculley, will be reassigned to lead the international side of the unit, reporting to Mr. Olds. And James H. Higgins 3d, who has been managing director of mergers and acquisitions for two years, has been tapped to run the domestic private banking division.
Room to Grow
Morgan, which managers more than $35 billion for individuals, sees some clear opportunties to expand in private banking. But the existing management team is already stretched, said Nicholas Potter, a managing director who oversees private banking and institutional and individual asset management.
"We have a large, growing, and complex private banking business, which is increasingly taking on significant international dimensions," Mr. Potter said in an interview.
"We want to put as much horsepower behind the effort as possible," he added.
The shifts come as U.S. banks are fighting harder than ever for the allegiances of the affluent.
Wooing the Wealthy
Citicorp, U.S. Trust Co., and many other big institutions have been stepping up their private banking efforts over the past few years. But most wealthy people already have tight banking relationships, meaning banks seeking new customers must wrest them away from rivals.
"It's much harder to grow the business than it used to be," Paul Groncki, vice president of PSI, a Tampa-based business planning firm that serves the private banking market.
Morgan, he said, has to "find new segments that haven't been aimed, so it's going after the global affluent."
In international private banking. Morgan operates through 12 offices in Europe, Asia, and South America. The business, which serves both foreign nationals and U. …