As consumers steel themselves for a possible recession in 2023, the biggest U.S. bank is expanding its wealth management business by launching an online money coach designed to appeal to tightened wallets. But JPMorgan Chase's new tool serves other purposes as well.
One is surfacing untapped clients hidden in the retail bank. The other: appealing to advisors at competitor banks and brokerages, where poor technology is the bane of many an advisor's existence.
JP Morgan's tool, a digital financial planning feature called Wealth Plan, launched earlier this month within the Chase banking app and Chase.com. While it's designed ostensibly to help consumers with personal finance, it also has a built-in financial advisor referral system designed to help advisors reach clients across segments, especially the mass affluent and high net worth.
"Whether you have a million dollars or whether you have $50,000 you need to make sure that your outflows are hopefully less than your income," Sam Palmer, the head of Digital Planning & Advice at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, said in an interview.
Palmer acknowledged that part of the program's goal is "expanding for the mass affluent" — a term which varies across the industry, with some defining it as clients having at least $250,000 of investable assets and others setting the entry bar around $100,000 .
But industry-wide, Palmer said, it was not uncommon to see individuals with even a million dollars — which are generally considered high net worth — who lacked a financial plan or advisor. By aiming for millionaires who have been do-it-yourself investors , the program will also look to draw in more high net worth clients and advisors.
Wealth Plan is free to use for all 62 million Chase customers who are currently active on either the bank's mobile app or website, according to a press release . The bank will offer them a dashboard where they can view their complete financial picture including accounts outside of Chase, if they choose to share that data, and help them with managing their cash flow in a tightened, inflation-battered economy. As the customer spends or invests, their dashboard will adjust automatically. There will be features like Goal Simulator, which lets users set financial goals and see how their current decisions affect their ability to reach those goals.
Long-term financial goals customers may set include "retirement, college savings or a vacation," said Kristin Lemkau, CEO of J.P. Morgan U.S. Wealth Management, in the press release. "They can explore options for how much they should save or invest to achieve that goal over time."
"Whereas from some of the other firms, with the client, you might get a bunch of financial calculators that will do a bit of retirement calculation, we're actually running a full Monte Carlo simulation for our clients just like an advisor would," Palmer said.
Wealth Plan will funnel eligible customers to the bank's financial advisors, whose fees vary by program. All customers have to do is click within the app to schedule an initial video appointment with an advisor.
Starting with those who have at least around $25,000 in investable assets, customers can be eligible to work with an advisor via the bank's new hybrid program J. P. Morgan Personal Advisors , which just rolled out at the end of October and combines digital advice with working with a team of fiduciary advisors who meet with a client remotely. The program is offering a deal for clients who join to have the first six months without fees.
Normally, Personal Advisors charges tiered fees: 0.6% of assets under management for those with $25,000 to $249,000, 0.5% from a quarter of a million to a million dollars of AUM, and 0.4% for assets over a million, a company spokesperson said in an email.
If clients have at least $50,000, they can instead work with J.P. Morgan Private Client Advisor , which is a one-on-one traditional advisor relationship — not to be confused with J. P. Morgan Private Bank , which is another line of business in the JPMC family reserved for ultrawealthy families.
Wealth Plan will also help the bank with advisor recruitment and retention, in addition to other talent strategies.
"We think that [it] will help our advisors lean into planning," Palmer said. "They don't have to type everything manually. So for sure it's going to help make the value proposition for advisors more attractive."
Palmer said the tool would allow clients and advisors to automate some of the less interesting administrative tasks that usually come up in a client relationship and jumpstart conversations around the clients' plans, saving both of them time. For example, instead of asking repeatedly for the client's statements as PDFs and entering the data by hand, the advisor checks the client's dashboard of assets, which updates on a constant basis.
"When you set up a meeting with the advisor, the advisor has all the information that the client already entered, directly on the computer."
In this way, Wealth Plan allows a JP Morgan advisor to prepare for the meeting by reviewing the client's cash flow and aggregated assets, instead of asking for those in the meeting itself, and by diving straight into discussing how the client's behaviors fit into their broader financial plan.
"It makes that relationship with the advisor and the plan much more dynamic," Palmer said.