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Rating:JPMorgan Gets into the ETF Biz Unexpectedly Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

JPMorgan Gets into the ETF Biz Unexpectedly

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

George Gatch and his team at JPMorgan Funds have unexpectedly found themselves in the ETF business. Bear Stearns, as reported by The MFWire and several other publications including The Wall Street Journal, on Tuesday unwrapped the industry's first active ETF -- a week later than originally scheduled. The Bear Stearns Current Yield Fund will be rebranded under JPMorgan when the deal closes. One question is what the folks at JPMorgan, which doesn't currently have an ETF, plan to do with the business.

Comments made by Gatch, president and CEO of JPMorgan Funds, at a CEO summit last fall offers a window into his thinking on acquisitions for fund companies.

"They suck," he said at a Q&A session at the Tiburon CEO Summit XIII last October. The comments are posted on Tiburon Advisors' Web site.

Gatch said that he himself is not a believer in purchasing fund companies to bolster AUM, but acknowledged that JPMorgan could easily buy another bank, and that would mean integrating an asset management subsidiary.

Gatch, whose merger experience includes integrating Fleming and the One Group, said that "the key was to make decisions both quickly and transparently, because if you don't, then weeds grow."

However, in the case of the JPMorgan-Bear Stearns deal, Gatch will not have much integration work ahead of him apart from weaving the ETF business into the JPMorgan fold.

In the spring of 2004, Bear Stearns' mutual funds were adopted by Dreyfus Corp. in a transaction that saw $4.4 billion in mutual fund assets change hands.  

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