JPMorgan chief executive officer Jamie Dimon testified in Washington again today, and while the denizens of the House Financial Services Committee were, as promised, a little wackier than their counterparts on the Senate Banking Committee, the results were mostly the same.
Mr. Dimon took responsibility for the $2.3 billion-and-counting loss suffered by the firm’s chief investment office, reiterated that the losses did not threaten the profitability, let alone the solvency of the firm, espoused on the breadth, depth, transparency and overall wonderfulness of America’s capital markets and advanced his views on the types of regulation U.S. banks should be subject to.
Indeed, given that the House and Senate committees that called Mr. Dimon to testify this week and last insisted on hearing from the financier before JPMorgan makes further disclosure on the losses associated with the trader known as the London Whale—Mr. Dimon repeated today that the firm would release further information when it announces second quarter earnings next month—we can’t help but wonder:
If the lawmakers had intended to hold Mr. Dimon’s feet to the flame, perhaps the hearings were mistimed. Now if they wanted to give Mr. Dimon a platform to orate on the soundness of his firm and his opinions on banking regulation, well, mission accomplished.
At any rate, a few of our favorite moments:
Barney Frank is disappointed: “I’ve never looked at the CFTC’s budget, so it’s inappropriate for me to comment on it,” Mr. Dimon told the Massachusetts Democrat. “I’m disappointed,” said Mr. Frank, who went on to instruct the JPMorgan CEO to “please don’t filibuster,” and to ask whether Mr. Dimon’s compensation was subject to clawbacks due to the trading losses. “It seems like you’re the kind of person who stays apprised.”
Carolyn Maloney is disappointed…that the losses occurred in London, and not her home district: “Mr. Dimon, I thought you loved New York. Why did all this activity take place in London?” Mr. Maloney wanted to know.
Gary Ackerman needs to fire his investment adviser: “What the difference between gambling and investing?” the New York Democrat asked. “If you gamble, on average you lose,” Mr. Dimon said. “That’s been my experience with investing,” Mr. Ackerman said.
About Mr. Dimon’s reading habits: California Democrat Brad Sherman pointed Mr. Dimon’s attention to an editorial from “those wily socialists at Bloomberg” which argued that JPMorgan’s government guarantees amounts to an “implicit subsidy” of $14 billion annually.
At the Senate Banking Committee meeting last week, Mr. Dimon said he had not read a Bloomberg article describing the lack of stop-loss limits JPMorgan’s CIO. Today, North Carolina Democrat Brad Miller wanted to know if Mr. Dimon had read the article since. “I don’t remember if I read the article,” Mr. Dimon said.