Spotlight on Jamie Dimon, Chief executive, JPMorgan Chase
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Tuesday 12 June 2012
A harsh spotlight on Mr Dimon, in fact
The self-styled smartest guy on Wall Street has been called to Capitol Hill to explain how JPMorgan, styled by Mr Dimon as the safest bank on Wall Street, managed to lose $2bn-plus and counting on credit derivatives. The showdown is tomorrow.
And we're expecting a circus?
The biggest since hearings into the Wall Street crash during the Depression, when things got so bizarre a circus promoter plopped a performing dwarf on the lap of the great John Pierpont Morgan.
Perhaps, but supporters of Wall Street reform are thrilled at the chance to humble Mr Dimon, who has pushed back against "stupid" regulation at every turn these past years. They say the JPMorgan debacle proves banks are simply hiding risky trading in quiet corners.
Humble's a word not normally associated with him
The wunderkind scion of a family of Greek-American stockbrokers, he rose at the side of Sandy Weill, who built Citigroup, until the pair had an inevitably vicious falling-out. Mr Dimon navigated the credit crisis so successfully he appeared untouchable. Until now.
Dimonfreude. There's another word
Coined in the wake of the trading losses, it means taking great satisfaction in the misfortunes of the JPMorgan boss.
And on the substance?
The Senate banking committee will want to know what its witness knew about those trades, by the London Whale, Bruno Iksil, and why Mr Dimon originally chose to wave away concern as "a tempest in a teapot". And there's the little matter of the Federal Reserve.
Mr Dimon is on the board of the New York Federal Reserve. Politicians say that's a conflict of interest. Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman, points out that Congress mandates banker participation, but he would have no problem changing that. We await Mr Dimon's view.
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