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JP Morgan Boosts Branch Targeting Super-Rich

(c) Sky News 2013

Investment bank JP Morgan has bolstered its private wealth arm in Britain because of the increasing number of multi-millionaires in the region.

The bank has appointed seven top bankers to its British division, poaching five from rivals, amid expansion plans to target the ultra-rich, known as high net worth (HNW) clients.

"The hires within our Private Wealth Management business in the United Kingdom highlight our commitment to the increasing number of high net worth clients in the region," division head Tracey Reddings said.

Ms Reddings, who joined last year from Societe Generale (Paris: FR0000130809 - news) , is attempting to lure more of the so-called core millionaires to JP Morgan.

These are HNW clients with assets of between £2m and £16m.

Last year the Sunday Times Rich List revealed that the richest continued to amass wealth.

In recent years Britain has become a haven for wealthy foreigners to invest their money. A number of those at the top of the Rich List were foreign- born.

The issue of foreign wealth investment in London property has become a political issue for Chancellor George Osborne.

A so-called mansion tax was ruled out last year against Liberal Democrat wishes but the Finance Bill was drafted to help target super-rich foreign property buyers using partnerships or companies as purchase vehicles.

The Finance Bill confirmed a continuation of hitting the rich with a 15% stamp duty land tax for homes worth more than £2m from "non-natural persons".

Additionally, the rich were targeted with a new annual levy to be paid by corporate vehicles, capital gains tax for purchases through companies and a hike in stamp duty to 7% for "ordinary" purchases of homes over £2m.

The stamp duty loophole has allowed an estimated £1bn in tax to be avoided annually by rich foreigners.

Although HNW clients can return greater margins for banks, further expansion of tax vehicles for the super-rich are set to spark fury from both the public and politicians.

US multinationals have recently felt the wrath of MPs after they were grilled about corporate tax structures that potentially denied the Exchequer of funds.

Planned expansion of the UK HNW business by JP Morgan follows a similar push in Asia led by the former head of Standard Chartered (Other OTC: SCBFF - news) , Peter Flavel.

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