David Topper, a vice chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase’s investment bank and key architect of some of the firm’s biggest initial public offerings, is leaving the firm, according to an internal memo distributed late Wednesday.
The 53-year-old Topper, a three-decade Wall Street veteran, joined the firm in 2005 and went on to play a major role in the underwriting of a number of J.P. Morgan’s largest stock offerings, including last fall’s $23 billion General Motors IPO and the $22 billion new issue of the Agricultural Bank of China last summer.
More recently, he also worked on the $2 billion new issue of Nielsen, one of the better-performing IPOs so far this year.
Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Topper spent 22 years at Morgan Stanley.
In an interview, Topper said that in contrast to a number of his business associates, he feels bullish about the new-issue market, despite some recent fits and starts. Particularly in such a low-interest rate environment, “I think people want to jump in and buy IPOs right now because they can’t get any other return,” he said. “As soon as Congress does whatever it’s going to do, and the U.S. doesn’t go bankrupt, I think the market opens back up again.”
In the internal memo, J.P. Morgan said that Topper would leave the bank to pursue other interests and spend additional time with his family. It wasn’t clear what his next professional step might be.
Yet “I have no intention of remaining idle for the rest of my life,” said Topper. “I’m not a good enough golfer to do that.”
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This post has been updated.