Monday, 18 February 2008

New Geneva Team for Russian ultra wealthy

Wealth Briefing

February 18, 2008

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

JP Morgan Private Banking is setting up a new Geneva-based team to serve Russian ultra high-net worth clients.

Leonard Tsomik, head of JP Morgan Private Banking Russia & Eastern Europe, said he had identified a number of candidates to hire in Geneva to complement the bank's Russia team in London and 100-strong personnel already covering the county.

In an exclusive interview with WealthBriefing, he said: "We have a small team in London and we are about to establish a team in Geneva of considerable size. Russians are very active in Switzerland and some have made their homes there so it makes sense to compliment our London coverage. We have a small active pipeline of professionals worth hiring for Geneva."

JP Morgan targets Russian ultra high net worth individuals and families with investment portfolios of $30 million or more. The minimum benchmark to invest with the bank offshore is $10 million, which far exceeds the average $1.5 million portfolio of Troika Dialog's ultra high net worth clients.

"Some of our competitors will take $500,000 million or less to get market share and to reach our levels. They cast a wider net," he added.

Mr Tsomik has worked on the Russian market in private banking and private equity since 1994 although JP Morgan only entered the market recently.

"All of our clients continue to invest a predominant amount in Russia," he explained. "Some like discretionary approach or advisory approach. We can also do things other banks can't do. Our core business is asset management and we are also an investment bank to private clients."

JP Morgan's investment bank was one of the first foreign banks to open in Russia in 1973 and last year topped the league table for involvement in Russian M&A advisory work.

Mr Tsomik said the private bank would leverage off the investment bank's experience and contacts in the market.

"We work very closely with the investment bank without violating regulations, confidentiality or Chinese walls. It's key to have the introduction from the investment bank because cold calls are only so good in any market."

Mr Tsomik said the origins of Russia's wealth had transformed overwhelmingly from natural resources to relatively new consumer economy sectors such as retail, food processing and real estate over the past five years.

"The market is very young and the clients are very young and very active in their business. There are no second and third generation clients. These guys are very sophisticated and are very interested in managing their own money and only parting with a portion of it. "

1 comment:

Dmitry said...

Leonard Tsomik is my cousin