Jamie Dimon/CCP: party on, dude

It takes audacity — and hubris — to compare JPMorgan to the China Communist party. But chief executive Jamie Dimon may have had a point, despite his later expressions of regret for joking his bank would “last longer”. How do they stack up?

One is a preppy Wall Street bank with quarter of a million employees, headed by the same man — Dimon — for 16 years. The other is a 95m-strong institution led by a man eight-plus years into his reign. The first is rooted in lenders set up two centuries ago. The second is celebrating its 100th birthday.

Both are popular. Nearly 220,000 applicants battled it out for 3,000 places on the bank’s summer intern programs this year; globally it received 2.8m application for jobs requiring experience. The CCP, which has grown membership by a fifth in the decade to 2019, received 19m applications for membership in 2019.

JPMorgan wins on diversity; women make up more than half of the workforce, although they take up just 28 per cent of the very top roles. Less than half the staff are white. The CCP remains a largely homogenous grouping of dyed-in-the-wool (and frequently hair) party men. Just over a quarter are women. Barely a handful of them hold any of the top 130 slots.

The CCP keeps on growing … CCP members (m), Increase in members  (annual % change) … with graduates leading the charge; Members with academic degrees (%), Workers and farmers (%)

There is divergence in other areas. JPMorgan is putting more emphasis on skills rather than academic certificates; in 2019 more than three-quarters of jobs in the US requiring experience did not require a degree. But mortar boards have graced the heads of half of the CCP’s members.

The universal bank has its hands on some of the levers of power and money. JPMorgan has a market capitalisation just shy of $500bn and Dimon happily and publicly shares his opinion on matters of national importance like immigration and health. “Government is increasingly dysfunctional, leading to a number of policies that simply don’t work,” he informed shareholders last year. He also shared views on China and “autocratic and authoritative leadership”.

But none of that amounts to two beans beside the Party. China’s stock market lies predominantly in state hands; stakes in financial institutions alone are worth multiples of JPMorgan. It rules over a $16tn economy, of which a quarter is generated by state-owned enterprises, and holds sway over 1.4bn people. Its scientific and technological prowess has left the Pentagon gobsmacked. One thing is for sure. JPMorgan’s future in China has taken a backwards step after Dimon’s quip.

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