JPMorgan brings alternative investments to masses with US$100,000

A sign is seen on the Canary Wharf offices of JP Morgan in London September 19, 2013. — Reuters pic
A sign is seen on the Canary Wharf offices of JP Morgan in London September 19, 2013. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, May 17 — JPMorgan Chase & Co plans to offer sophisticated investments to a much broader clientele.

The bank is slashing requirements to participate in certain alternative investments that its asset management arm once offered mainly to institutions or the ultra-rich. That will allow it to accommodate more allocations made through registered investment advisers.

The new minimum buy-in will be US$100,000 (RM396,745), down from US$10 million previously, according to the New York-based firm. Some additional accreditation requirements will still apply.

To make the change, the largest US lender is using technology from iCapital Network Inc. The online marketplace offers alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity vehicles and real estate deals, to high-net-worth investors and their advisers. The venture, which provides services for more than 12,000 accounts, has drawn interest from a number of big Wall Street firms. BlackRock Inc., which works with iCapital, previously led an investment round that also included UBS Group AG and Morgan Stanley.

Technological advancements are making it easier for people to build portfolios without relying on human brokers who reap commissions, raising investment costs. For financial advisers, the ability to access a broader suite of products helps keep their clients engaged.

JPMorgan’s move shows how large asset managers have taken note of those trends.

“Many high-net-worth investors continue to be under-allocated to alternatives relative to their institutional counterparts,” Anton Pil, managing partner of JPMorgan global alternatives, said in a statement. “As we get later in the economic cycle, identifying alternative sources of return is an essential consideration for investors looking to build stronger portfolios.” — Bloomberg

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