Jamie Dimon’s letter to JPMorgan Chase’s shareholders created quite a storm of commentary amongst various industry observers, not all of it complementary.
Tom Brown of Bankstocks.com says that the letter is: "outstanding. The letter isn’t just a wrap-up of how Morgan did last year (although, as is typical, Jamie’s candid on the topic)—it’s also a worthwhile meditation on how and why financial crisis happened, and what sort of changes need to be made to prevent another one. This is just the sort of letter, that is to say, that a lot of us hoped Warren Buffett might write this year, but did not. As far as that goes, it may be the best shareholder letter I’ve ever read, from any CEO, ever."
The Wall Street Journal notes that Dimon also focuses upon succession planning: "Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets. Who will replace the chief of
JP Morgan Chase & Co? In his annual letter to shareholders, CEO Jamie Dimon says his number
one priority this year is to find his successor."
Meanwhile, one of the more interesting takes on the letter is Simon Johnson's over at Baseline Scenario:
There are two kinds of bankers to fear. The first is incompetent and
runs a big bank. This includes such people as Chuck Prince (formerly
of Citigroup) and Ken Lewis (Bank of America). These people run their
banks onto the rocks – and end up costing the taxpayer a great deal of
money. But, on the other hand, you can see them coming and, if we ever
get the politics of bank regulation straightened out again, work hard to
contain the problems they present.
The second type of banker is much more dangerous. This person
understands how to control risk within a massive organization, manage
political relationships across the political spectrum, and generate the
right kind of public relations. When all is said and done, this banker
runs a big bank and – here’s the danger – makes it even bigger.
Jamie Dimon is by far the most dangerous American banker of this or
any other recent generation.
That may be a bit extreme, but Jamie Dimon is by far the most powerful American banker of this generation. More so than even Lloyd
Blankfiend, and Barack Obama and most of his admin linger upon his every utterance, as do the markets.
So my own view is that Jamie Dimon is a man to take seriously. Very seriously.
And that's why I've posted most of his letter here, as I'm taking note of his comments very seriously.