J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s new Manhattan headquarters is meant to be an ode to both the company and the city — a monumental glass-and-steel tower that says the nation's largest bank grew up here. But New York may be losing its luster.
Despite more than two centuries of history in a city synonymous with the global financial industry, J.P. Morgan is quietly shrinking its workforce there. The bank's been building up its presence in other locations and is now considering relocating several thousand New York-based employees out of the area to help rein in costs ahead of a possible economic downturn, according to people with knowledge of the bank's strategy.
One option is to sell the investment-banking headquarters, at 383 Madison Ave., long the main hub for J.P. Morgan's bankers and traders. Executives are deciding what roles could be relocated to lower-cost hubs such as Plano, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Wilmington, Del. In the investment bank and asset-management group, the moves will primarily affect non-client-facing workers, but could also impact junior-level investment bankers, some of the people said.
J.P. Morgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti said the bank believes it's healthy to continually review its facilities and where employees are based, and that the new headquarters will house twice as many employees as the old tower did.
"We are committed to the NYC metro area," he said. "We expect it to be our largest location for the foreseeable future."
J.P. Morgan has already made plans to move hundreds of New York-based credit-risk jobs to Texas and to station some senior-level employees of the consumer bank there, according to people with knowledge of the matter. J.P. Morgan also has told some staff that the New York region will no longer be a hub for compliance.
The moves mark a new era for J.P. Morgan, which has helped companies and governments raise capital from its New York perch under 61 mayors — and once even bailed the city out of a fiscal crisis. For New York, it's the latest retrenchment by a financial institution and another black eye after online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. in February canceled plans to place its second headquarters in the city, undermining New York's quest to transform itself into an East Coast alternative to California's Silicon Valley.