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JPM's private bankers build critical mass

Private banking is an increasingly cut-throat business and there are few lengths to which private bankers will not go to pamper their clients. That might explain the curious press release that landed in Euromoney's mailbox from JPMorgan Private Bank in Hong Kong, announcing the firm's summer reading list for clients.

JPMorgan billed its offering as a "'must read' list reflecting the eclectic interest and passions of its global clients". Its recommendations included a biography of Alfred Hitchcock, a book of aerial photographs of Africa and a Cuban cookery book by three Floridians.

"We eat to feed our bodies but we read to feed our souls," gushed Michael Fung, chief executive officer, JPMorgan Private Bank Asia. "I believe reading enriches our lives to a degree which may only be surpassed by our own imagination. It is with this in mind that our clients appreciate our annual summer reading list."

His clients might appreciate even more some good-old-fashioned portfolio selection to enrich their bank balances. According to the latest Euromoney poll of the best private banks in Asia, JPMorgan Private Bank failed to make the top 10. One explanation for this disappointing performance could be that the entire firm appears to be rather busy compiling the reading list.

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