Bloomberg News

JPMorgan Expands Corporate Bank Unit Ahead of Schedule

October 19, 2011

(Company corrects earnings target in third paragraph.)

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. lender by assets, will meet its goal of hiring at least 300 bankers for the global corporate bank unit a year ahead of schedule, the head of the business said.

JPMorgan is likely to reach the target by the end of 2012, partly because the business has grown “faster than we expected,” Gregory Guyett, chief executive officer for the global corporate bank unit, said in an interview in Hong Kong yesterday. The team has expanded to more than 250 bankers from about 100 in 2009.

JPMorgan, which last week reported a slump in investment banking and trading, plans to invest more in the global corporate bank as the business expands. Guyett, whose division manages the lender’s relationships with large companies, financial institutions and state-run firms, reiterated a goal of generating an additional $1 billion in annual pretax profit within “a few years.” He declined to say how much the division makes now.

“We will invest whatever it takes in order to build this footprint, business to serve the clients,” said Guyett, 47. “That’s balance sheet, that’s people, that’s all the infrastructure and support that goes along with it.”

JPMorgan drove expansion of the global corporate bank unit outside the U.S. in 2009 with an investment of about $100 million for the first year, said Guyett, who is based in London. The goal was to increase the cash management, lending, trade financing and corporate advisory services and products sold to large customers.

‘War for Talent’

JPMorgan last week reported a drop in third-quarter profit. The New York-based company reduced its investment-banking workforce by almost 4 percent in the three-month period and cut employee compensation costs 28 percent as the division grappled with fallout from the European debt crisis.

Shares of JPMorgan rose 5.9 percent to $32.87 at the close of trading in New York. The stock has shed 23 percent this year.

In emerging markets including China, the unit will focus on offering services to foreign companies operating in those nations and local firms with overseas ambitions, Guyett said. He was previously the Tokyo-based president and CEO of JPMorgan Securities Japan Co. and senior country officer in Japan.

“We’re not in business to compete with local banks that have the ability to raise money very cheaply, have huge networks across China,” Guyett said. “That’s not our target market.”

The global corporate bank division will have a third of its people in Asia, a third in North America and the rest in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Guyett said.

“We’ll keep a very close watch on the war for talent, making sure we continue to hire quality people,” said Muhammad Aurangzeb, chief executive officer for the division’s Asian operations, said in an interview yesterday. Even in times of crisis, “the reality is there will continue to be a lot of focus on the region and therefore a war for quality people.”

--Editors: Chitra Somayaji, William Ahearn

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Tong in Hong Kong at stong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net


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