When Robert Bedwell was talking to J. P. Morgan Chase about a new job that would help manage relationships with the bank’s biggest asset management customers, he was concerned that he would not get the cooperation of the 1,400 people in Australia and New Zealand working for the company.

Bedwell fears have not been realised. The former Citigroup salesman says his J. P. Morgan colleagues have been most supportive. From Rob Priestley, chief executive of the company in Australia, to Mark Kelley, CEO of treasury and securities in the country and Andrew Best, head of the financial institutions investment banking, Bedwell says the cooperation with his colleagues has been excellent.

The success of his role means that J. P. Morgan may look to appoint people in a similar role as Bedwell’s in Asia.

Bedwell talks with chief investment officers and occasionally CEOs at funds about what they want from their bankers. J. P. Morgan employees may have a business relationship with a fund manager but have not taken it beyond their doors as they have not the expertise to talk about the bank’s other products.

Superannuation funds whose members are usually grouped around one industry are becoming more active about opportunities to cut costs through mergers, control more of their investments and attract more customers.

Bedwell says these so-called industry funds are seeking his advice as they seek to build a brand. AustralianSuper regularly runs advertisements on television.

Asset Managers are also seeking advice from J. P. Morgan on what the regulatory environment will be following the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the new capital level requirements of the Bank of International Settlements and what further analysis by credit ratings agencies of banks may have on their relationship with those companies.

Bedwell is talking to J. P. Morgan’s 15 largest asset management accounts in Australia and New Zealand that include superannuation funds and a sovereign wealth fund. He talks about investments, regulation, documentation and credit limits.

He says he works at a strategic level not on day to day transactions. Bedwell is one of six investment bankers specialising in financial institutions.

Of the $1.9 trillion in assets under management in Australia, J. P. Morgan has relationships with 85 per-cent of that money, says Bedwell.

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