JPMorgan hire to work with sovereign funds

The firm has re-hired Patrick Thomson to work with sovereign clients, many of whom increasingly want exposure to alternatives.

JPMorgan Asset Management has hired an executive to oversee the firm’s relationships with sovereign investors, institutions that are increasingly interested in ramping up their exposure to alternative investments.

Patrick Thomson will serve as JPMorgan’s global head of sovereign clients, based in London. In that role, Thomson will oversee teams of client advisors based around the world who look after sovereign client relationships for JPMorgan, according to a statement.

For Thomson, the appointment marks a return to JPMorgan. Though he is joining from Ivy Asset Management, an investment manager owned by BNY Mellon, he previously worked at JPMorgan for nearly a decade as a managing director responsible for sales and servicing of sovereign clients.

Several sovereign funds are showing an increased interest in alternative assets, with some investing up to 30 [percent] of their portfolios in the asset class.

JPMorgan spokesperson

Sovereign investors, such as state-managed wealth funds, are becoming increasingly active investors in alternative investments, including private equity. For example, South Korea's sovereign wealth fund announced in the spring it was looking to increase its exposure to private equity, ramping up its allocation to 20 percent. The Korea Investment Corporation, with $30 billion in assets, in July made its first foray into private equity investing, dedicating about $1 billion to investments in alternatives, including buyouts, distressed, growth and venture capital and real estate.

Thomson said in a statement that “sovereign wealth funds will be important participants in shaping the future of global finance” and will increasingly look to diversify their portfolios. JPMorgan believes sovereign clients are increasingly interested in alternative allocations, a spokesperson said in an email. 

“Several sovereign funds are showing an increased interest in alternative assets, with some investing up to 30 [percent] of their portfolios in the asset class,” the spokesperson said, citing a report from consulting firm Cerulli Associates as the source of the data.

The firm manages real estate, private equity and infrastructure alternative investments, among others.

While the global head of sovereign clients is not a new position, JPMorgan said Thomson will “bring an elevated and coordinated focus” to this client group, according to an email from a spokesperson.