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Ex-JPMorgan Broker: 'It Was All About The Money, Not The Client'

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People stand in the lobby of the JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York. Former and current JPMorgan employees have said the company put pressure on advisers to sell JPMorgan mutual funds to clients, even when it was not the best deal.
People stand in the lobby of the JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York. Former and current JPMorgan employees have said the company put pressure on advisers to sell JPMorgan mutual funds to clients, even when it was not the best deal.

"It was all about the money, not the client."

That's according to Warren Rockmacher, a former broker at JPMorgan Chase, as quoted in a recent New York Times article about the company's sales culture. To sum up that culture in a word: intense.

JPMorgan advisers were under pressure to sell the firm's own mutual funds to their clients, rather than funds from competitors -- even when the competitors' products were actually the better deal, according to the NYT. "I had to be a salesman even if what I was selling wasn't that great," one former JPMorgan broker told the NYT.

Some analysts did raise their eyebrows when JPMorgan last year became one of the 10 largest U.S stock and bond fund managers, since its funds weren't even performing in the top 50th percentile among competitors, according to Bloomberg.

If the accusations against JPMorgan sound familiar -- a major financial institution reportedly putting company profits over the interests of its clients -- that might be because Greg Smith, a departing executive director at Goldman Sachs, accused Goldman of essentially the same thing upon his resignation in March via an op-ed in the NYT.

Some might argue that this used-car-salesman culture is more worrying than all those billions and billions of dollars the bank lost on lousy derivative trades. That loss indicated a certain lack of judgment when it comes to risk evaluation in Jamie Dimon's dominion, but at least it only visited monetary damage upon the company's shareholders.

But JPMorgan's mutual fund strategy -- according to numerous current and former employees who spoke with the NYT -- appears to have consisted of a deliberate campaign to push its own products on clients who believed they were getting sound financial advice, even when that wasn't actually the case.

Around the Web

J.P. Morgan Chase Finds Success in Mutual Funds - WSJ.com

JPMorgan Cracks the Mutual Fund Top 10 - Businessweek

Former Brokers Say JPMorgan Favored Selling Bank's Own Funds Over Others

JPMorgan Chase still leader in corporate bonds