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January 5, 2010

Andrew L. Cohen

By Spear's

Managing Director and Head, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Southern California & Las Vegas

Mentor J.P. Morgan and Chase merged in 2001. Both were fantastic firms with phenomenal brands, yet  we needed a strong leader to guide us through the transition. Jes Staley, who now is CEO of J.P. Morgan’s investment bank, was co-head of the Private Bank at the time and he did a brilliant job of bringing two cultures within private banking together as one firm.

He has character qualities that I think are tantamount to working with J.P. Morgan. He is incredibly modest and can meet with a Head of state and roll up his sleeves and have a beer with a 22 year-old analyst in the same day. He leads by example: there is nothing he would ask of you that he wouldn’t be willing to do himself. He is deeply committed to diversity and in fact is the executive sponsor of PRIDE, the firm’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allies Employee Networking Group (ENG).

I always refer to Jes’s leadership style when motivating the young and talented people who join J.P. Morgan every year. During any turning point our business has experienced over the past decade, I was able to pick up the phone, call Jes, and he would treat the call as if it were the most important thing he was doing that day. In business, if I can be just a percentage point of what he is, then I feel I’ve achieved a lot.

Company culture Working at J.P. Morgan, you soon realise the deep culture and strong foundation on which this firm stands. J.P. Morgan has weathered every possible financial storm imaginable and we base our business on the belief that trust and a good relationship with the client is paramount to everything else. I believe that is one of the reasons our firm has experienced tremendous growth during a time when many of our competitors are facing bigger challenges.

J.P. Morgan Jr. once said, ‘At all times the idea of doing only first-class business, and that in a first class way, has been before our minds.’ This is a value we live by. Everyone at every level of management is focused on the client. Client service for us means going above and beyond the call of duty, always. In fact, last night I was with a client until 9pm, and have already had several client meetings this morning (11.29am on a Friday).

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