Is JPMorgan Caz coming apart?

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Revenues have stalled, senior staff are leaving and there's talk of a new assertiveness at JPMorgan. Is the joint venture coming unstuck?

Measured in terms of departing heavy hitters, the answer might seem to be yes.

Last week, Robert Pickering, Cazenove chief exec for the past seven years, made a surprise exit. He follows hot on the heels of other Caz veterans, such as Roger Lambert, David Anderson and Julian Cazalet who, according to the Telegraph, have all left in the past few months.

Detractors say the departure of senior staff isn't the only sign that something's going awry in the JPMorgan and Caz marriage.

Pickering's exit follows the announcement that Cazenove's revenues were flat in 2007 and operating profits fell 14%. By comparison, despite a difficult fourth quarter, JPMorgan achieved a 6% rise in net income during the year.

No bickering over Pickering

But one senior headhunter with links to Cazenove says the problems are being overdone.

"I've spoken to a few of the management team recently and they don't seem too upset by Pickering's departure. He wanted to exercise the option to sell the remainder of the Cazenove shares to JPMorgan now, while others wanted to wait, so he decided it was time to move on."

JP is also said to have dug deeper this year to close the chasm between bonuses for its bankers and Caz's historic stinginess. Will this be enough to persuade Caz's bluebloods to stay? Your comments please...