Refining Goals to Maximize Social Impact

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022

Rick Barragan, Los Angeles Market Manager, J.P. Morgan Private Bank

For more than three decades, Rick Barragan held leadership positions that spanned J.P. Morgan’s vast investment bank. He helped global companies list their shares in the United States, ran a derivatives trading desk, and put together deals across the sports and entertainment groups.

Today, he’s leading a different charge at the financial giant – aggressively expanding J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s presence in greater Los Angeles. Barragan’s clients are high-net-worth individuals and families. And instead of focusing just on maximizing clients’ returns, his job includes advising them on how to maximize their societal impact – both by investing for good and strategically giving their wealth away.

“We take a holistic view,” Barragan, a managing director and Los Angeles market manager at the Private Bank, says about his team’s work with clients to define their goals, interests, and passions in order to structure a sound financial plan. “Philanthropy is integrated into everything we do. You can’t have a conversation about planning and balance-sheet optimization and management, if you’re not including philanthropic goals.”

Increasingly, J.P. Morgan Private Bank clients are looking beyond achieving financial security for themselves and their families. They want their investments to have far reaching social impact and they want to give back to their communities and to causes they care about. Their affluence gives them the opportunity to create profound legacies. 

J.P. Morgan has positioned itself for more network-building and thought-leadership events as it expands in greater Los Angeles. While other companies retrenched during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Private Bank opened offices in Manhattan Beach and Pasadena in 2021. Barragan, who oversees the metropolitan area from the bank’s long-standing office in Century City, is a New York transplant who understood that expecting clients to make hours-long commutes to Century City from the suburbs was not a growth strategy. 

“For us, it’s important to be local so we can be part of the community,” he says. “It’s certainly been eye opening because our presence is helping with the educational process so that people can understand who we are, what we do, and how we’re different. Being on the ground is really bearing fruit for us.”

Across greater Los Angeles, the Private Bank has embarked on its largest hiring spree, seeking to more than double its current team by recruiting up to 120 advisors over the next five years. The new locally-driven teams will serve as a “powerful gateway to the global resources of J.P. Morgan,” Barragan says. The Private Bank also recently opened offices in Westlake Village and up the coast in Santa Barbara. While the Westlake Village office is in a temporary space, the firm is in the process of building a brand new permanent space for the team that will open in 2023.

The Los Angeles market exemplifies both trends. In addition to traditional local philanthropic priorities, such as education, healthcare, and affordable housing, sustainability and climate change are now top of mind for younger donors. And their passion for these causes is influencing their investment decisions as they direct more money to stocks of companies that champion, as JPMorgan Chase does, ESG – environmental, social, governance – principles.

The flood of global information on the Internet and social media has motivated young, wealthy donors, Barragan says. “It’s quite refreshing to see such passionate interest in philanthropy. The next generation is about impact.”

The rising social awareness creates opportunities for the Private Bank to deepen its work with families on intergenerational wealth transfer, which the Philanthropy Centre supports through its Family Governance Advisory practice. 

“A lot of our clients use philanthropic planning as a way to engage the next generation,” Barragan says. The process helps instill a sense of how to be a good steward of wealth and carry forward the family legacy.