J.P. Morgan & Co., practically synonymous with old money, is reaching out to the newly rich.
Morgan executives said a print advertising campaign pitched to entrepreneurs is part of an aggressive bid to attract new private banking clients.
The ads, which began appearing in major publications two weeks ago, are a departure for a bank that is more closely associated with steel barons and railroad magnates than with modern industry.
But executives said the ads fit into Morgan's strategy of wooing clients with assets of $5 million or more who might otherwise shy away from the blue-blood bank.
|We Are Very Approachable'
"Some people have conceptions that we are only dealing with the very, very megarich," said Arthur B. Sculley, managing director and head of private banking at Morgan. "But we are very approachable."
The print ads, which have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist, are anything but a clean break from Morgan's establishment image.
Indeed, their centerpiece is an engraving of a steam locomotive that deliberately conjures up images of established wealth. Founder J.P. Morgan made his fortune in railroads.
But the text of the ad urges readers to think again:
"If you weren't the founder of a railroad, will you feel comfortable at J.P. Morgan?" it asks.
The ad continues:
"Yesterday, it was steel and railroads. Today, it's biotech and microchips.
"New industries. New wealth. And as one might suspect, a new type of private banking client."
A private banking expert said Morgan's ads are in keeping with an industrywide move to recruit entry-level customers.
"What they're going after is entrepreneurial, active wealth - |new money,'" said Michael Kostoff, vice president of the Advisory Board Co., a Washington consulting firm.
Morgan's Mr. Sculley said the new campaign has been received favorably by present and prospective clients.
He added that the ad campaign underscores Morgan's focus on managing clients' assets and providing investment advice.
New Ad Agency
"We've shifted our emphasis much more to our investment services," Mr. Sculley added. "You'd find some other private banks are much more oriented to commercial lending."
The campaign was created by Morgan's new advertising agency, Goldsmith/Jeffrey of New York. It is Morgan's first fullblown advertising drive in a year, though the bank has done some spot advertising in the interim.