A few words from the Wise Man of Wall Street
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.
Friday 06 April 2012
Warren Buffett, the billionaire founder of Berkshire Hathaway, whose annual shareholder letters are compulsory reading for connoisseurs of homespun wisdom, has a rival for the affections of literature-loving investors.
Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of the largest US bank, JPMorgan Chase, has just penned his own shareholder letter, which weighs in at 38 pages and reads like the antithesis of a Buffett publication.
Where the Oracle of Omaha gently ribs investment bankers' values and warns of the dangers of financial complexity, Mr Dimon's letter swings to the defence of his industry, champions derivatives and the benefits of lobbying, and rains fiery invective down on politicians who have piled layers of regulation on banks since the credit crisis.
"The result of financial reform has not been intelligent design – simplicity, clarity and speed would be better for the system and better for the economy," he writes. "Complexity and confusion should have been alleviated, not compounded. We now have multiple regulatory agencies with overlapping rules and oversight responsibilities. We have hundreds of rules, many of which are un-coordinated and inconsistent with each other. While legislation obviously is political, we now have allowed regulation to become politicised, which we believe will likely lead to some bad outcomes."
Mr Dimon has been fashioning a role as the public spokesman for Wall Street, and his outspoken letter went into detail on the specific new rules – both in the US and internationally through the Basel III process for deciding new capital requirements for risky banks – that JPMorgan is opposing.
JPMorgan's annual report also revealed that Mr Dimon's pay totalled $23.1m last year – an 11 per cent pay rise.
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