Nearly one year ago, on Jan. 14, 2004, JPMorgan Chase and Bank One announced plans to merge the two banking companies. Although the merger was officially finalized on July 1, the two entities are still in the process of melding operations, including both mutual fund families, and transitioning Bank One's private client services division catering to wealthy individuals into the JPMorgan fold. Up until the merger, JPMorgan only catered to the mega-wealthy market through its private banking unit.
On the leadership team of JPMorgan Private Client Services sits Jeff Cusack, formerly of Bank One, now the executive vice president and head of sales and marketing for the unit. Cusack is in charge of financial planning, education and training, business development, and product management, including mutual funds, separately managed accounts and alternative investments. The latter isn't a fancy name for hedge fund investments. Instead, the alternative investments banner has been applied to several "hard" assets, including oil and gas, real estate, farm and ranch investments such as timber land, and even alligator farms -- all of which grew out of the trust business of Bank One.