Goldman and JPM Set Their Sights on the “Little People’s” Money

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade

After chasing the super rich for a century, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are now offering no minimum accounts. As we will explain shortly, their motives may not be all that altruistic.

In March of 2016, the Wall Street Journal’s Emily Glazer reported that clients of JPMorgan Chase’s Private Bank “will be required to have at least $10 million in investible assets, twice the current minimum of $5 million.”

What smells like real money to Goldman Sachs has also been eight-figures and higher. In 2013, the New York Times reported that Goldman had a $10 million minimum to manage private wealth and was booting out its own employees’ accounts if they were less than $1 million.

High net worth individuals are what each of the mega Wall Street banks look for since the more money the bank invests, the more fees it generates and the fatter its bonuses are to its traders and executives. And the super rich do not want to be seen coming through the same doors to invest with the main street common folks.

For more than a century, it has been something of a sacrosanct oath for JPMorgan and Goldman to keep out the hoi polloi. When Nomi Prins, the prolific author and former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs penned her 2004 book, Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of Americashe wrote that Goldman was “too conceited to have its name or logo visible from the sidewalk of its 85 Broad Street headquarters.”

When Goldman Sachs was negotiating its deal with New York City in 2005 to build its new headquarters building at 200 West Street, one of its requirements was that it have a seat along with the New York City Police Department in a taxpayer-funded spy center to keep the Main Street riffraff under surveillance. Goldman wanted the new surveillance center to be in place no later than December 31, 2009. Curious, isn’t it, that Goldman was prescient enough to think that the pitchforks might be coming out after an epic crash on Wall Street. The spy center was, indeed, built and both Goldman and JPMorgan Chase were given seats, along with the New York Fed, Citigroup and others. (See Wall Street Firms Spy On Protesters in Tax-Funded Center and 60 Minutes Takes a Pass on Wall Street’s Secret Spy Center.)

Now, all of a sudden, Goldman Sachs Bank USA is offering FDIC insured savings accounts with no minimums to the little guy and JPMorgan Chase is frying the brains of its legions of upscale brand marketing gurus with an account that promises “100+ commission-free online stock and ETF trades with $0 minimum to start.” After the little guy has exhausted his 100 free trades, the cost will be $2.95 per trade thereafter, according to the firm’s website

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