JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon faces shareholders after $2B trading mistake
(CBS/AP) TAMPA, Fla. - JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon is set to face shareholders days after announcing a $2 billion trading mistake and while a full-scale revolt is unlikely, there may be calls for the bank to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, both of which Dimon currently holds.
Shareholders will be looking for information on what Dimon's role was in the blunder - a bad bet with so-called credit derivatives. But despite the hit to his reputation as an expert at managing risk, the executive has enjoyed widespread support within the company and among shareholders, making calls for his ouster improbable.
There is, however, an actionable measure on the ballot at the bank's annual meeting that could prevent one person from holding the titles of chairman and CEO. A number of shareholders told CBS News correspondent Rebecca Jarvis that they would be more comfortable with splitting the roles, a setup that other big banks, such as Citigroup, employ.
Investors lopped almost 10 percent off JPMorgan's stock price the day after he told analysts about the $2 billion loss, and 3 percent more on Monday. Since Dimon made the announcement, almost $20 billion in market value has evaporated.
Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren, architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a Senate candidate from Massachusetts, called for Dimon to give up his board seat at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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And on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney, without singling out Dimon, said that Washington can't prevent "bad decisions being made on Wall Street."
He pointed out that it was the bank and its shareholders, not bailout-weary taxpayers, who were suffering this time.
Dimon will be talking to shareholders from a position of weakness for the first time. He has built a reputation as a cost-cutting zealot and an expert at keeping risk under control.
He led JPMorgan into a stronger position than almost any other bank after the 2008 financial crisis, which brought him more praise than at any other time in his career.
Shareholders rarely lash out against Dimon. Vikram Pandit of Citigroup and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America are not so fortunate: Shareholders at those banks take the slightest opportunity to call for them to step down.
Dimon's reputation has been severely damaged now. But shareholders still appear to believe he should be given the chance to prove himself again.
"He's earned enough market respect to have the opportunity to correct this," said Benjamin Wallace of investment firm Grimes & Co., a longtime shareholder that sold its JPMorgan shares six months ago.
"I don't think anyone else can do a better job than him, and we would not be calling for his ouster," Wallace said.
Dimon said on Sunday that the bank had "made a terrible, egregious mistake" and that there was "almost no excuse for it."
Yet there have been no signs of a shareholder insurrection against Dimon, and no member of the board of directors has spoken out against him since he disclosed the loss.
He still holds a reputation as the man who restored Bank One to a profit a decade ago when few thought it was possible and who kept JPMorgan Chase profitable through the financial crisis by managing its risk.
And while $2 billion was a stunning figure, as the investor reaction demonstrates, JPMorgan is more than big enough to absorb the loss. The bank made $19 billion last year alone.
"Banking is a people business, and people are going to make mistakes," said Steve Shafer, chief investment officer of the hedge fund Covenant Global Investors in Oklahoma City, which bought JPMorgan shares on Friday.
"If anything, this just reveals how difficult it is, with some of the smartest hedgers on the face of the earth, to interpret what the markets are going to do," he added.
Dimon has said the bank lost the money in a strategy to hedge against financial risk, as banks often do, not because it was trading for its own profit. Some lawmakers have cast doubt on that portrayal.
JPMorgan's disclosure has led lawmakers and critics of the banking industry to call for stricter regulation of Wall Street.
On Monday, President Barack Obama said JPMorgan's loss in high-risk trading shows the need for the Wall Street rules that Congress passed two years ago.
JPMorgan "is of the best managed banks," Mr. Obama said during an appearance on ABC's "The View," a daytime talk show. "You could have a bank that isn't as strong, isn't as profitable, making those same bets and we might have had to step in. Which his exactly why Wall Street reform is so important."
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