Making J.P. Morgan the #1 Private Bank
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Making J.P. Morgan the #1 Private Bank

Manning Selvage & Lee’s mission was to build on our successful program, solidifying and enhancing J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s position as the premier source of advice and trusted partner to high net worth individuals. We achieved this goal in a number of w

Paul Holmes

Manning Selvage & Lee’s mission was to build on our successful program, solidifying and enhancing J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s position as the premier source of advice and trusted partner to high net worth individuals. We achieved this goal in a number of ways. We created a mini-plan to introduce the head of the private bank to banking editors at Fortune, Financial Times, Barron’s, The Economist and other select media, which resulted in new clients.

Our goal was to generate articles featuring J.P. Morgan in publications such as The Financial Times, Fortune, Forbes and The New York Times. We continued to introduce the private bank’s experts to top financial media, and strategically placing them in select publications that reach the bank’s target audience. J.P. Morgan’s wealth advisers have become the top sources for personal finance writers at major publications. J.P. Morgan’s market strategists are regular guests and co-hosts for market commentary on CNN, CNBC, and PBS’ “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyeser.”


Following the merger with Chase, J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s focus was to attract clients with $25 million+ in investable assets. Our challenges included developing a strategy that sustained and exceeded our past successes in a year, which offered fewer opportunities as overall editorial pages diminished. We also needed to target a narrower range of publications as the target audience of the merged bank become more affluent. Another challenge was developing a presence for the new head of the Private Bank, Maria Elena Lagomasino. At the same time, our mandate was to sustain an aggressive public relations campaign that would increase awareness of its private banking group to build brand awareness among prospective new clients, without alienating its traditional customers. Other challenges included increased marketing efforts by competitors.


Our two key measurable objectives were to raise awareness of J.P. Morgan Private Bank and its services among target media that reaches the wealthy and communicate at least one key message in all coverage. The emphasis was not on the quantity of hits, but on the overall image of J.P. Morgan as the leading and trusted adviser to the wealthy. Our media plan reflected a highly selective audience.

Based on last year’s program, our planning was highly flexible and focused on being responsive to ongoing news developments such as the economic downturn and investment opportunities in this business environment.

One of the essential elements in ensuring the project’s success was the direct access that our client allowed us to have with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank experts. This partnership with more than 20 spokespeople ranging from equity strategists to wealth advisers enabled us to mine them directly for story ideas and react quickly to news developments (i.e. tax legislation, Federal Reserve interest rate moves, philanthropic giving).  It also allowed us to build J.P. Morgan’s image as a responsive news source as we were able to tap into resources throughout the United States and arrange interviews quickly.


The agency’s approach was based on a proactive plan that did not rely on standard news announcements. The agency researched and identified trends and developed close media contacts for J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s top executives, market strategists, wealth advisers, and other spokespeople primarily through a series of one-on-one sessions to cement long-lasting relationships with a select group of journalists. We developed a core contact group of journalists covering personal finance, the markets, philanthropic and banking issues and launched an aggressive campaign including regular contact via phone, email and mailings.


To help position J.P. Morgan as a premier provider of advice to the wealthy, the campaign demonstrated the institution’s breadth and depth in this area. One of the techniques that we successfully employed included leveraging marketing materials written for clients with select media covering personal finance and the markets. We also arranged roundtable meetings for J.P. Morgan’s experts with top writers and editors at targeted publications including Fortune and Forbes to brainstorm for original story ideas and trends leading to favorable coverage for the bank. Another successful element was the inclusion of press on late-breaking development conference calls originally used as a vehicle primarily for clients.


For the year, MS&L generated more than 550 stories in major publications and broadcasts with 100 million impressions and an ad spend of approximately $100 million. As a result of our work, J.P. Morgan Private Bank generated clients and prospects resulting from interviews arranged for the head of the Private Bank with Fortune and The New York Times. This coverage included articles in key publications targeting the wealthy including Fortune, Worth, The Financial Times, Forbes, Money, SmartMoney, Time, BusinessWeek, The Economist, The New York Times, Red Herring, The Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s.

Besides being named the top rated private bank according to Worth magazine’s “A List” issue, J.P. Morgan Private Bank was featured in a cover story in The Economist on “The New Wealth” and was featured in five stories in the Financial Times special issue on private banking.

The head of the private bank was featured for the first time in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” issue. She was also profiled in the Financial Times special issue on Private Banking and by the New York Times, which specifically resulted in client leads.

The agency suggested and submitted bylined articles by the bank’s market strategists in the Financial Times and Red Herring. Other highlights include a feature of the global market strategist in Forbes Global’s Investment Guide.

MS&L also continued to generate positive coverage for the bank’s online unit, Morgan OnLine, which was selected as “Forbes Favorite” in Forbes’ “Best of the Web” issue (Winter 2001), and received four stars in Barron’s annual “Best Online Brokers” survey.

Another non-standard use of publicity was J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s annual “Summer Reading List” appeared in several publications, including the Financial Times, the Associated Press, Newsweek International, Business 2.0, and Crain’s New York Business.

An independent analysis by CARMA International found that J.P. Morgan Private Bank, in a sample time period of only three months (July – September 2001), topped its competition (Goldman, Merrill, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, UBS and U.S. Trust) in both quantity and quality of its coverage. J.P. Morgan Private Bank appeared in 63 articles and broadcasts.

Our program helped to build the brand by reaching a highly selective audience on wealth management issues that were important to J.P. Morgan’s clients. We acted as a partner in bringing clients and prospects to J.P. Morgan. Our work is also considered as part of our spokesperson’s review process.

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