Diversity is a ‘need to have’: Eric Tepper, CEO of Chase wealth management

JPMorgan Chase’s wealth management division is making moves to ramp up diversity and inclusion among its leadership team with the addition of four regional directors to oversee the bank’s 3,700 advisers over 5,000 branches across the country.

For CEO of Chase Wealth Management Eric Tepper, bringing on new leadership meant an opportunity to move the needle on diversity within JPMorgan Chase, he said.

In fact, with the new hires his team represents 37% people of color and is 37% female. 

“Diversity starts at the top, and for any organization, large or small, you need to lead by example and having a diverse team is not a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘need to have,’” Tepper said. “As the head of a business, we have an obligation to our clients and shareholders to put forward diverse ideas and solutions for a changing and evolving client demographics base. The only way to really achieve this is by having representation across ethnic and gender diversity.” 

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The new hires include Lanän Clark as the new Regional Director of Wealth for the Los Angeles and Orange County regions; Jennifer Williams, as the new Regional Director of Wealth for South Florida; Marcus Rolls, formerly with Morgan Stanley, is the new Regional Director of Wealth for the Houston and Central Texas region; and Scott McQuistan, the new Regional Director of Wealth for the Southwest region based in Arizona. 

Clark, Williams and McQuistan are all formerly with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The hires all represent newly created positions. 

“We leverage a distributed model and our regional directors — or field leaders — will manage the day-to-day business for us,” Tepper said. The four hires are now responsible for hiring, coaching, onboarding, mentoring, training and managing the financial advisers in their regions.

New hires Clark, Williams and Rolls are also a part of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Black Executive Forum, a global team of senior Black leaders from different business lines to help attract, retain, promote, mentor and sponsor junior black talent, support the development and advancement of talented Black senior leaders at the firm, and recommend strategies that expand the talent pool and ensure greater focus for this community, according to Tepper. 

For the next generation of advisers, Tepper founded the wealth management division’s new Advisor Development Program, a 24- to 36-month pro­gram focused on recruiting, developing and retaining individuals and giving them the tools needed to build a career as a financial adviser. 

Of the current 271 participants in the program, more than 20% have identified as Black and the program is 78% diverse across gender and ethnicity. The program anticipates having its first class of advisers by 2022, according to Tepper. 

The new hires and diversity and inclusion efforts come on the heels of the bank’s announcement earlier this month to hire hundreds of remote advisers across the country over the next two years to ramp up its digital-advice business model, and recent hire Boaz Lahovitsky, will spearhead the effort. 

Even with the launch of the new remote business, Tepper said he believes Chase’s branch-based advisers will remain its core business for the long-haul. 

“We’re going to remain focused on growing the branch-based adviser business with a laser focus on diversity not only for our advisers, but our senior leaders as well,” he said.  

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