J.P. Morgan & Co. of New York has expanded its asset management capabilities for wealthy clients in the United Kingdom.

London-based J.P. Morgan Investment Management already markets itself to wealthy individuals in the Middle East and parts of Europe. But it was missing out on a lucrative market in the United Kingdom, said Kathleen McKay, who heads the 13-person team responsible for J.P. Morgan's wealth management initiatives there.

There were 26,000 households with investable assets averaging $20 million in 1997, and the number of millionaires has more than doubled in the last decade, according to Morgan. In addition, the stock market has jumped 320% in the past 10 years, she said.

"There's a lot of momentum in this market and this a great time for us to be getting in," Ms. McKay said.

J.P. Morgan is targeting clients with at least $5 million of investable assets. As part of that effort, it plans to launch two tax-efficient mutual funds next month. The JPM Capital Growth Fund will be heavily weighted in global equities, but will also invest in some fixed-income securities. The JPM U.K. Equity Fund will invest in U.K. equities.

David Ross Palmer, a consultant for the wealth management industry, said J.P. Morgan's reputation will appeal to the upper segment of the market, whether it is new money or old.

In addition, the banking company has the opportunity to attract assets away from firms that are not aggressively seeking to increase them, said Mr. Palmer, the managing director and founder of David Ross Palmer Consultants International of East Falmouth, Mass.

The initiative comes at a time when the banking company is ramping up its overall coverage in the United Kingdom. For example, J.P. Morgan has increased its investment banking capabilities there as well as its analyst coverage. Last week the banking company hired a portfolio manager for its London-based equity team.

J.P. Morgan has $326 billion under management globally. That includes $71.5 billion of assets for private clients, $18 billion of which is in Europe, a spokeswoman said.

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