Apr 7, 2021 - Economy

Dimon calls on companies to be policymakers

Photo of Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is calling on companies to play a bigger role in the world’s problems, saying today in his annual shareholders letter that the business sector should be a “responsible community citizen."

Why it matters: Corporations are increasingly facing more pressure to take a stand on politically divisive issues.

  • "[C]ompanies (like ours) have an extraordinary capability to help ... not just with funding but with developing strong public policy, which can have a greater impact on society," Dimon writes.

What he's saying: "I think America has a bright future. I don't know if we're at a crossroads or not, but I think the better strategy is to assume we are and to fix it. It's a bad idea to not fix it and hope that it really wasn't that important," Dimon tells Axios in an interview.

The big picture: Dimon's letter is widely read for the head of the nation's largest bank's musings on the economy, the financial system and politics.

  • He dedicates an entire section to public policy — saying America's competitiveness and leadership were challenged by "China, Covid-19 and our own competence."
  • Dimon says the nation's policy design and implementation have been "hampered by short-term thinking" and few institutions are blameless.
  • "We are bogged down, sometimes crippling our nation, because of self-interest and the associated bureaucracy and bad thinking that follow," says Dimon.

More details from the shareholder letter:

On the stock market: "While equity valuations are quite high (by almost all measures, except against interest rates), historically, a multi-year booming economy could justify their current price."

  • Dimon says "there is some froth and speculation in parts of the market, which no one should find surprising."

On taxes: "Business tax rates should be globally competitive."

  • "The wealthy are less likely to complain about taxes if the money is to help the less fortunate or help build a better country."

On the shrinking role of legacy banks: Banks face "extensive competition from Silicon Valley, both in the form of fintechs and Big Tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and now Walmart), that is here to stay."

On the lasting effects of remote work: "For every 100 employees, [JPMorgan] may need seats for only 60 on average. This will significantly reduce our need for real estate." (It's still planning to build its new New York City headquarters.)

Read the letter.

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