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Wait. What?

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Crain’s

If the wealthy are leaving Chicago, or even contemplating it, it’s news to the country’s largest bank.

Over the next five years, JPMorgan Chase is planning to triple the number of advisers in its Chicago private bank catering to wealthy families and individuals. […]

“We’re really bullish on Chicago,” [Chase co-head Maggie O’Brien] said in an interview. […]

“We don’t see anything to make us believe that trajectory is going to slow,” O’Brien said.

Chase’s actions belie the narrative some are telling about the Chicago area — that people with money are leaving for lower-tax states or because of perceptions that crime is out of control. That debate has taken on new life since the election of Brandon Johnson as Chicago mayor. Johnson has proposed millions in controversial new taxes, while allies are urging $12 billion in financial moves, including enacting city income and wealth taxes, meant to affect the wealthy rather than the middle class.

Some people can apparently see through the news media’s narratives, particularly the great freakout after two far-left groups proposed a laughably unrealistic fiscal plan.


  1. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    Businesses have to do independent research to make decisions. They cannot just parrot what everyone is saying. This is not very surprising to me.

  2. - Dirty Red - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 10:41 am:

    The money tends to not care about partisan politics unless its to their advantage. People forget that.

  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 10:45 am:

    Crain’s has gone woke. S/

  4. - allknowingmasterofraccoondom - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 10:52 am:

    All people despise all taxes. No matter what those taxes pay for.

    But, people love Chicago. That ain’t changing. The city is amazing, and compared to other large metropolitan areas - it is tops.

    So let the gadflys and pols talk them selves silly. I for one, am planning on a freaking great summer on the lake front of the greatest city.

  5. - Jerry - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 10:58 am:

    Off the top of my head I can only think of 2 “gazillionaires” who have left Illinois for the “free” state of Florida.

    At least we have a source of fresh water here in Chicago.

  6. - Final 4 - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 10:58 am:

    People do love Chicago. But downtown is still not back to the number of office workers. The state must ensure employees are at the office five days a week. And the retail has not returned. Perception is everything, and Chicago has a crime problem. One article from Chase about wealth advisors doesn’t convince me everything is excellent in Chitown.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:00 am:

    ===The state must ensure employees are at the office five days a week===

    Maybe I’m misreading what you wrote, but do you seriously want the government to mandate where private sector employees work? Or are you only referring to state workers?

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:09 am:

    If you need to ensure that private sector workers are working in an office, you have no concept how workers want flexibility to work remote.

    It’s not going away, or businesses will complain about filling jobs from now on.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:13 am:

    There’s big construction in downtown Chicago, with large buildings going up. Also, the Kennedy Expressway is getting much needed fixing and the casino is coming, which will create lots of jobs. The economic attractions Chicago has don’t go away, mayor to mayor: great schools, workforce talent, infrastructure/Midwest hub, amenities, etc.

  10. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:33 am:

    ==The state must ensure employees are at the office five days a week==

    That is never going to happen again. Like it or not remote work is here to stay. It’s the new “normal” for a lot of businesses, and will most likely continue to include the state workforce. Business as we knew it is over when it comes to how people work.

  11. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:34 am:

    ==doesn’t convince me everything is excellent in Chitown==

    Nobody said it was. But everyone isn’t packing their bags and leaving Chicago either (contrary to the naysayers).

  12. - How Could Jerry Not Say Hello? - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:37 am:

    Paul Krugman’s latest in the NYT gives the shiv to the argument that the mandatory 5-day return to office has any economic benefits. Just the opposite, in fact.

  13. - Just A Dude - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    “you have no concept how workers want flexibility to work remote.” The same goes for government workers. The same considerations for hiring and retention apply to positions that are in demand

  14. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:51 am:

    The migration of billionaires to Florida was never an accurate indicator of Chicago’s attractiveness. They may have been loud about their reasons but never represented the majority of rich folks.

    Oh, and what’s the deal with “Chase co-head Maggie O’Brien”? Is that like last week’s movie on Svengoolie, “The Thing with Two Heads?”

  15. - cermak_rd - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:53 am:

    Final 4,
    Does it occur to you that some businesses may be able to save money on facilities by downsizing their downtown offices and leveraging WFH?

    I mean think of it, the employer goes from having to provide network access, electricity, cooling, space etc for workers to do their jobs for the company, to having to provide a laptop with secure access sw to the employee. That’s a lot cheaper.

    My company is looking to expand manufacturing into space formerly occupied by office staff. It’s cheaper to retrofit that space than to add a new building.Esp since the office staff used portable barriers for office walls. Simply pick up the cubes, reinforce and level the floor, switch out the electrical wiring, maybe add some plumbing (eyewashes, safety showers, possibly cooling depending on task) and bring in the heavy equipment.

  16. - low level - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:54 am:

    Fulton Market, South Loop and North Loop all seeing an incredible building boom of very high priced housing in very tall buildings. This goes against GOP & FOX news rhetoric but it appears Chase at least is aware of it and is acting accordingly.

  17. - Telly - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:56 am:

    == If the wealthy are leaving Chicago…it’s news to the country’s largest bank. ==

    It shouldn’t be news to anyone who pays attention. The places that have shed population, from southern Illinois to the west side of Chicago, are largely low income areas. While the places that have gained population, like Downtown Chicago, Naperville, and Champaign are high income areas.

  18. - Anthony - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 12:07 pm:

    Typically a skeptic of Chicago, but I love hearing this news.

    It is comical seeing people posts on FB/Twitter of how “Chicago is unlivable” — as if a few viral videos are representative of Chicago

  19. - skutt - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 12:17 pm:

    “The state must ensure employees are at the office five days a week.”

    I will never commute downtown five days a week to go to an office again and the state cannot make me.

  20. - SAP - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 12:17 pm:

    ==Businesses have to do independent research to make decisions. They cannot just parrot what everyone is saying.==

    Newspapers too

  21. - UPS - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 12:24 pm:

    Clear marketing ploy by JP Morgan in an era where bank stability is questionable and where mega banks will continue to consolidate.

    The downtown area has been trending towards becoming a playground for the wealthy. Those who can pay for the problems of urban decay to go away with do so. For everyone else, good luck, your local grocery store just pulled out.

    The inability for this board to see the tale of two cities is characteristically spot on.

  22. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 12:38 pm:

    “The state must ensure employees are at the office five days a week.”

    This is the last thing “the state” needs to be getting involved in. Some kind of goofy mandate along these lines would drive away more business tenants than it attracts. If applied to the state only, the only outcome of such a mandate would be that it would be even less likely for competent people to work in state government.

    “And the retail has not returned.”

    That’s unfortunate. I like cities too. Maybe just cut out the middleman and give these businesses a government handout if society can’t survive without them. Not sure why we need to overcomplicate it by forcing hundreds of thousands of people into unnecessary commutes just to ensure they are spending some income at overpriced Loop restaurants and retailers.

  23. - Too Cute By Half - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 1:09 pm:

    There is no far left in the United States. Find me one person who is demanding we seize the oil companies, or food production supply chains. There is no elected official that is calling for anything like that. Don’t fall for the Right’s rhetoric, Rich.

    This country has far-right and center-right parties. Every elected official still recoils when “tax the rich” sentiments are referred to as socialism.

  24. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 1:27 pm:

    ===There’s big construction in downtown Chicago,===

    Where? I don’t see any cranes up. Sterling Bay is having trouble leasing up Lincoln Yards and the loop has the highest vacancy rate in fifty years. Development has stymied.

  25. - Flyin'Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 1:54 pm:

    Money knows money. It smells other money, wants to be near it.

    As much as I love southern Illinois, money wouldn’t be caught dead here.

  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===There is no far left in the United States===

    The title of their treatise was “First We Get The Money”

  27. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===The title of their treatise was “First We Get The Money”===


  28. - Soccermom - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 3:44 pm:

    I love the idea of the state forcing people back downtown. I have a vision of JB showing up at my house like the exasperated mom of a teenager: “I’m going to count to three, and then if you’re not dressed and ready to commute, I’m going to come up there and get you, ready or not.”

  29. - low level - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 3:46 pm:

    ==The inability for this board to see the tale of two cities is characteristically spot on.==

    Your inability to see that is just what people were alluding to is typical.

  30. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 3:56 pm:

    Low level is correct. The post is specifically about very wealthy people, not the rest of us.

  31. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 4:44 pm:

    As far as working remotely goes and the people who want it to end, I’m sure there were people who thought the 40 hour/5 day work week would lead to things going to the nether world in a handbasket if that ever happened.

  32. - Final 4 - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 4:46 pm:

    ==Or are you only referring to state workers?== Sorry for not being clear. I was referring to state workers.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 4:56 pm:

    ===I was referring to state workers.===

    Ok, so why require? It seems that other industries are benefiting from remote work, is there a reason other than “attendance” do you have such a thought?

    I’m curious.

  34. - low level - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 6:43 pm:

    ==Where? I don’t see any cranes up. ==

    Fulton Market
    South Loop
    River North

    Maybe make your way to any of those communities. Incredible building boom of very high end housing

  35. - Odysseus - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 7:14 pm:

    “The title of their treatise was “First We Get The Money””

    There are some very good ideas in there, the City Bank of Chicago for one.

    The Bank of North Dakota has shown it can work and why.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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