Changes at J.P. Morgan signify the end of an era

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

J.P. Morgan Chase chairman William Harrison has announced that he plans to retire from the nation’s third-biggest bank at the end of the year, and he’s expected to hand the post to CEO Jamie Dimon.

Harrison, 63, will leave on Dec. 31 after spending his entire career at the New York-based bank. The 50-year-old Dimon succeeded him as CEO in January.

As CEO, Harrison made considerable contributions to the bank’s exponential growth.

Harrison’s last major takeover as CEO was the purchase of Bank One Corp. in July 2004 for $58 billion.

Previous purchases led Harrison to build an institution that sold everything from securities underwriting, merger advice and mutual funds to private banking and mortgages and commercial loans.

But, the board reportedly brought Dimon on after the merged bank failed to develop as anticipated. Analysts believed Harrison would leave the bank immediately after Dimon took his post, but Harrison managed to remain longer than expected.

During his tenure, Harrison outlasted most of his contemporaries, including Citigroup’s Sandy Weill, Morgan Stanley’s Phil Purcell and Bank of America’s Hugh McColl.

Harrison said he’s comfortable with the bank’s choices, noting that a CEO must run the business with his choice of key employees.

Wealthy choosing nonprofit investment

Affluent Americans appear to be choosing to invest their money in causes that don’t benefit the traditional bottom line.

A survey released this month by the New-York-based Luxury Institute shows 31 percent of wealthy Americans said they donate to nonprofit organizations, while another 25 percent say they will do so in their wills. The survey was conducted in June with a nationwide sample of 900 wealthy consumers with an average household income of $330,000 and an average net worth of $2.4 million.

Only 11 percent said they don’t plan to donate at all, and 15 percent said they aren’t sure what they will do.

Nearly 56 percent said they felt skittish about donating because they distrust nonprofit organizations. Despite the charitable attitude among the wealthy, 66 percent of those surveyed said they feared that they wouldn’t have enough money for themselves and their families.

SEC investigating 27 firms as part of bribery probe

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating 27 mutual fund companies that may have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes. The firms are accused of accepting payment to help create profitable contracts and to produce shareholder reports.

Mutual funds have been targeted for using shareholder money for their own benefit in recent years. The SEC has sent letters to some of those 27 fund companies and is requesting details about their relationships with some of the companies suspected of paying for contracts.

Hedge fund managers making millions

Hedge fund managers now earn more than $1.5 million a year in base salary and bonuses, the 2007 Hedge Fund Compen-sation Report.

Competition for talent in the industry is believed to be the reason for the sizable compensation packages.

The report also found that compensation in the hedge fund industry grew an average of 15 percent in the last year.

Hedge fund office personnel, who include risk managers, compliance officers and marketing professionals, are making about 20 percent more this year. Chief operating officers at the largest firms make an average of $800,000 a year in base salary and bonuses.

Merrill Lynch buys oil M&A bank

Merrill Lynch has closed a deal to acquire Petrie Parkman & Co, an investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and equity research for North American oil and gas companies.

The deal will combine Merrill Lynch’s investment banking business with the specialized exploration and energy production of Petrie Parkman.

Merrill Lynch believes that the deal will improve its ability to provide clients with capital markets expertise, industry-focused strategic advice and effectively mitigate commodity prices and other risks.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Fat check to help kids stay skinny

Ent Federal Credit Union presented a check for $5,000 last week to the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region for the education and prevention of childhood obesity.

Proceeds and pledge donations from the Ent Community 5K Fitness Challenge, which was held over the Labor Day weekend in America the Beautiful Park, supported the donation.

The YMCA will use the money for its Kid Fit and Family Fitness programs. The programs are designed to get children moving through a series of classes that combining music with resistance training, aerobic exercise, sports and games — encouraging children to make a life-long commitment to physical activity.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.