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J.P. Morgan appoints new China head from Goldman and what next for Asia?

JP Morgan, Hong Kong, Central
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J.P. Morgan Private Bank (J.P. Morgan PB) in Asia has appointed a former Goldman Sachs veteran to lead its China business, Asian Private Banker has learnt.

Florence Kui will join J.P. Morgan PB in May as head of China market, replacing Grace Lin, who will retire in mid-2024.

Florence Kui, J.P. Morgan PB

Kui was most recently the COO for client solutions & capital markets in Asia Pacific ex-Japan at Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM). She joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 and has spearheaded multiple roles including deputy head of North Asia for Private Wealth Management (PWM) Asia.

Asian Private Banker reported Kui’s departure from Goldman Sachs earlier this month.

Kui will report to Harshika Patel, the new CEO of the Asia Private Bank and Hong Kong CEO of J.P. Morgan, who took over from Kam Shing Kwang last year.

Following the departure of James Wey, the former head of Singapore and Southeast Asia, the bank has also restructured its market managers coverage.

J.P Morgan PB in Asia market heads

What next for J.P. Morgan PB in Asia?

J.P. Morgan PB is one of the largest US private banks in Asia by client assets, ranking closely to its peer Morgan Stanley, according to APB Insightswhich will release its updated Asia 2023 Private Banking AUM and Wealth Continuum AUM League Tables on 22 April.

People familiar with the matter told Asian Private Banker that J.P. Morgan PB in Asia considers itself one of the best private banks in the region. From its single coverage model to its bespoke UHNW solutions to its 23 Wall unit that caters to UHNW families, the US bank is betting on its strategies to compete against private banking giant UBS.

Harshika Patel, J.P. Morgan

The bank also tends to promote internally rather than hire externally. Among its senior leadership in APAC, Patel, Ernest Ho, Paul Thompson and Anika Mak have all worked for the bank for over a decade.

Elaine Zhang, a former Credit Suisse banker, joined the US lender in 2021.

When Kwang decided to step down last year, the bank looked externally as well as internally, but ultimately decided to push for internal stability by appointing Hong Kong CEO Patel to the role, multiple sources have suggested.

“Even though Kwang was already a CEO at that time, she was still very hands-on on the business – stick with 8:30 am morning meeting with bankers every day and constantly meeting clients. She has left a good legacy to the private bank business,” the people added.

While Patel, a former investment banker and a relative newcomer to the private banking world, has new jobs to fill, the market managers under her are all wealth management veterans.

For instance, Kui, a new addition to the bank, has a long history of covering the North Asia market in the region along with market veterans such as Nick Yim, the current head of North Asia for Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management (PWM) in Asia.

“While she was working in COO roles for the past years, Kui has established a good track record in the greater China market. I am not surprised she joined J.P. Morgan, but I am more surprised Goldman would let her go,” one Hong Kong-based headhunter told APB.

“J.P. Morgan Private Bank remains deeply committed to delivering sophisticated, bespoke offshore services for Chinese clients. Kui’s wealth of experience and deep connections across the region will help us further strengthen our leading position as well as capabilities for connecting clients to long-term wealth opportunities both in Asia and globally,” Patel commented on Kui’s appointment.

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