DREAMERS versus INSOMNIACS
What does Jamie Dimon know that we don’t? I know – silly question.
In Q2, 2020, Kristin Lemkau, CEO of JP Morgan Chase’s wealth management unit, said the unit plans to bring its advisor count to around 8,000. Chase has a little under 3,000 advisors now.
A month later, JP Morgan announced they were combining JPMorgan Advisors and JPMorgan Securities into one unit and re-branding it “J.P. Morgan Wealth Management.”
Then, on March 12, 2021, JP Morgan said they planned to hire 100+ advisors in Phoenix to expand its remote financial advice offering.
WHY THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT
Chase has made similar announcements before. I remember reading about doubling their advisor count back in 2012 – (they experienced very modest advisor headcount growth in the last 10 years). In fact, Chase’s financial advisor headcount has gone down since that Q2 2020 article was published.
This time, it feels a little different to me. I doubt they reach this goal of 8,000, but It feels like Chase might actually be very serious about these new goals. Why is that?
READERS OF TEA LEAVES
I think I am a pretty smart person – not billionaire Jamie Dimon smart, but I can hold my own. And I think the executives that run the thousands of banks and credit unions that aren’t Chase, Wells, BofA, Citi, etc are also very smart people. Perhaps a better question would be, “what information does Jamie Dimon have access to that we don’t?”
One thing Jamie and the aforementioned other banks have is DIRECT access to some of the brightest minds in the financial business. These aren’t people reading about trends and reacting. They are the ones creating the news for people like me to read about.
JP Morgan knows the banking industry (and CU as well) is going to absorb a good percentage of the advisor and client movement away from the big wall street firms. That’s why they are working very hard to position themselves in the best way possible for that level of growth. But what they don’t realize is that many advisors (and likely clients too) view them in the same light as the big wall street firms. A LOT of people work there – but are they happy there?
Poll 1,000 people that work for any of the biggest financial firms and 1,000 that work for regional and community banks / CU’s. The “happiness” level is more than double. That’s why we tell our clients they should re-think what’s possible for their advice platform.
DREAMER vs INSOMNIAC (relating to organic advisor growth)
The “Dreamer” is always talking about when great things are going to happen. They make bold statements about headcount growth, but when it comes to delivering on those statements, they tend to fall back on their amazing asset growth and profit margins. Not to pick on JP Morgan, but there is no way they will have 8,000 advisors in five years unless they buy a firm with 8,000 advisors (3,000 will leave). Banks like BofA (Merrill), Chase, Wells, etc., are dreamers when it comes to organic advisor growth.
The “Insomniac” is the program manager with an RIA, indy practice, or regional brokerage firm. They are the c-suite of a regional or community bank & credit union. These people wake up in the middle of the night excited about the possibilities. They see the direction things are going. They make bold statements like doubling headcount or building $20 million advice platforms from scratch in 5 years – and they deliver.
Personally, I’ve been an insomniac for a few decades and am looking forward to another decade or two of waking up excited about the future!