JPMorgan Exits Mexico Private Banking as Wealthy Look Abroad

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is shutting its private banking business in Mexico, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as wealthy clients in some of Latin America’s largest economies move their money to international financial capitals.

The biggest U.S. bank signed an agreement to refer local business to BBVA Mexico, the local unit of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, said one of the people. Still, the New York-based firm will continue to serve clients from Mexico through its platform outside of the country, one of the people said.

The decision to discontinue local wealth management services in Latin America’s second-biggest economy follows a similar move in Brazil last summer in which JPMorgan wound down its local private-banking business and referred Brazilian wealth clients to Banco Bradesco SA.

Wealthy families across Latin America have been seeking out money managers in world capitals in recent years, bankers said. In Mexico, the populist policies of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, including a tax crackdown, have pushed some families to transfer more wealth abroad. Offshore accounts represent the majority of JPMorgan’s private-banking business in Mexico, one of the people said.

Mexicans shipped $18.8 billion to foreign accounts last year, the most since 2016, central bank data on the balance of payments showed Thursday. Outflows during the fourth quarter of 2020 to “other accounts,” which include bank deposits held by Mexicans abroad, nearly doubled from the third quarter.

JPMorgan will continue to maintain other businesses in Mexico, including investment banking, trading and treasury services. A company spokesman declined to comment.

JPMorgan is the biggest wholesale bank in Mexico among the global giants without retail operations, according to data from banking regulator CNBV. The firm’s other business lines have been growing, one of the people said, and last year the bank increased its capital by $8 billion pesos ($393 million) to 19.5 billion pesos, data show.

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