J.P. Morgan Lays Out Its Technology Plans



Very interesting new development at JP Morgan applying FinTech solutions to debt capital markets.

Source: Wall Street Journal

The largest U.S. bank by assets is expected to detail its technology spending strategy throughout different presentations from Chief Executive James Dimon and his top lieutenants. Actions range from new spending on fintech to cutting costs on technology that keeps the bank running.

Specifically, J.P. Morgan JPM -4.18% plans to increase its technology spending to around $9.4 billion from roughly $9.2 billion, while working to allocate about 40% of that budget to new investments and technologies, up from 30% currently, said Matt Zames, the bank’s chief operating officer.

Here are some of the ways the bank is slimming its spending:

– Location strategy: The bulk of its technology employees are now centered in 13 hubs across the world, from Bournemouth, England, to Delaware to Tampa, Fla. The bank introduced hub scorecards in early 2015 to measure how those sites are performing on matters including recruiting, training, retention and diversity, Mr. Zames said.

– Reducing legacy applications: Known internally as “kill the tail,” the bank has cut the number of applications it uses by 13% in 2015, with a goal to cut about 25% of its apps, Mr. Zames said.

– Consistency: The bank is driving toward more consistency across its technology. Tech production issues have dropped by about 65% in 2015 from 2013.

And here are some ways it’s spending on new technology:

– Digital:  Heavy investments here, from the Chase mobile app to ATMs that do 60% of the functions a teller can do, with the goal of 90% by the end of 2017, Mr. Zames said.

– Analytics: They want to better target and connect potential customers across the bank, from its Chase retail platform to the investment bank. For instance, it is using a sales prospecting tool with its equity capital markets and commercial banking clients to identify future clients through machine learning algorithms examining public data for companies. It is rolling this out with the debt capital markets team this year, said Sanoke Viswanathan, chief administrative officer at J.P. Morgan’s corporate and investment bank. In the commercial bank, the engine will identify more than 10,000 new prospects. It was rolled out in 15 markets in 2015.

– Fintech partnerships: The bank is partnering with more fintech firms through a “residency program” beginning in April across its corporate and investment bank, said Daniel Pinto, head of the unit. Modeled after the Central Intelligence Agency’s Lab41, it will give fintech firms in-depth exposure to the bank’s challenges. In some cases the firms will work alongside J.P. Morgan employees. For instance, the bank hopes to use fintech firms to help improve the investor services unit at the bank, focusing on a service it provides to asset management clients in outsourcing their middle office work.

Investments: The bank has grown the new technologies introduced into its production system in recent years through its technology innovation team. It engaged with more than 300 emerging technology firms, more than 100 pilots and around 50 new technologies used in the bank’s production environment last year, Mr. Zames said. A person familiar with the matter said the hit ratio of success has grown around 30% for those technologies that go into production from a few years ago. “The list [of technical and innovation opportunities] is longer than my arm of what we’re testing out, and I expect many of them will fail,” Mr. Zames said. “If…just a handful of them pay off we will be able to turn this organization and the way we do things upside down.”