12 September 2016

Private banking perks in peril for lawyers

Wealthy lawyers are among those set to be most affected by J.P. Morgan's recent decision to increase the threshold for its elite private banking service to $10 million in investible assets.

By Victoria Basham

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The concierge-style service offered by private banking has long been a recruiting tool for law firms and brings a number of valuable perks, such as discounts on mortgages and access to hedge funds and networking events.  

Enforced

But The Wall Street Journal reports that could be set to change, as J.P. Morgan Chase will soon require its private bank clients to have at least $10 million in investible assets to get in the door; twice its current minimum of $5 million. The bank is also planning to enforce its new minimum more aggressively.

Lawyers hit hardest

Lawyers could be among those hit hardest by the move, designed in part to cut costs, as only a small minority meet the new requirements. While the precise number losing perks can’t be determined, it is said to include lawyers at elite firms such as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Latham & Watkins and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Sent down the prestige ladder

Lawyers who don’t meet the requirements will have to settle for the bank’s ‘private client direct’ service, while associates will be ‘sent further down the prestige ladder’ to the bank’s ‘private client’ service.

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