JPMorgan, Citi expand wealth management divisions in Washington

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the names of Blair Ege and Barbara McCollum. This version has been corrected.


JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

The number of affluent families in Washington — those with net worth of at least $5 million — continues to rise, and the area’s private banking offices are beefing up their wealth management businesses to keep up.

Citi Private Bank announced last week that it had hired Blair Ege as a director and banker in the company’s ultra-high net worth practice, which caters to those with more than $25 million.

The company currently has 36 private bankers focused on the Washington area wealthy, with plans to add at least five more in the coming year as international money continues to flow into the region.

“That’s where we’re really seeing demand, as the world’s wealthy move into cities like D.C.,” said Barbara McCollum, Mid-Atlantic regional market manager for the bank.

The Washington area has emerged from the financial crisis in better shape than most parts of the country. It is now home to seven of the 10 counties with the highest household incomes in the United States, according to census figures.

As a result, financial firms such as JPMorgan Chase’s private banking division have taken steps to ramp up services for the wealthy.

Since October, the number of bankers in the division’s high net worth practice (which typically serves those with $5 million to $50 million in assets) has more than tripled, from five to 17.

The division said it plans to grow by another 75 percent within the next three years.

“Wealth creation and expansion in this area is likely to accelerate, not slow down,” said Sam Gottesman, managing director of the JP Morgan Private Bank in Washington. “We weathered sequestration — and what that really showed us was that Washington is not as government-dependent as it used to be.”

The proliferation of private enterprises — ranging from biotechnology to cybersecurity, defense and real estate — have helped boost the number of wealthy families in the area, Gottesman said.

“Over a very short time, the Washington metro area has established itself as perhaps the fastest-growing corridor of high net worth families in the country,” he said.

Wealthy families
The number of families with more than $5 million in net worth has increased since 2000.
Washington metro area

24,000

The number of wealthy

families in 2000.

45,000

The number of wealthy

families in 2012.

All of Maryland, Virginia and the District

41,000

The number of wealthy

families in 2000.

85,000

The number of wealthy

families in 2012.

Source: JP Morgan Chase

Photo: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Abha Bhattarai covers local banking, retail and hospitality for The Washington Post’s Capital Business section. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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