Mr. Fixit Leaves JPMorgan. What Does It Mean for Investors?

U.S. stocks are kicking off an event-heavy week on a positive note, with the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) up 0.33% and 0.2%, respectively, at 10 a.m. EDT.

JPMorgan: Another one rides the bus
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Dow component JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , is losing one of his key lieutenants and a go-to executive for solving thorny problems. Dimon has known Frank Bisignano since the 1990s when they both worked at Citigroup under Sandy Weill, and he recruited Bisignano personally to JPMorgan in 2005 after courting him for years.  

Bisignano is leaving to become the CEO of First Data, the country's largest processor of credit and debit card transactions. First Data was acquired by private-equity firm KKR in 2007, so Bisignano's new position demonstrates the high regard in which he is held by a group of savvy financiers and could be hugely lucrative if KKR exits the investment successfully.

Bisignano's formal title at JPMorgan was co-chief operating officer; his departure consolidates the power of the executive with whom he shared that office, Matt Zames, who now becomes the sole COO. Zames, who came from JPMorgan's investment bank, is a top contender to succeed Jamie Dimon as CEO.

Since early 2012, Bisignano is the ninth executive to leave the bank's operating committee, which includes the leaders of all of the firm's major activities (asset management, commercial banking, corporate and investment bank, and consumer and community). For a 12-person committee, that represents a heavy turnover -- much of it a direct result of the "London Whale" trading scandal that rocked the bank last year.

Do these management reshuffles indicate turmoil at the highest levels of the organization? I don't think so. If anything, the fact that Bisignano is leaving to take the top job elsewhere shows the level of management talent at JPMorgan. Furthermore, the bank has a deep pool of experienced managers. While the London Whale episode highlighted some material weaknesses in the organizational structure, the outcome of that fiasco has been positive in terms of tightening the bank's management. While Bisignano's exit is a loss, it doesn't undermine that process. Among the big three universal banks -- JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America -- JPMorgan remains the best-managed.

With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal or if finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help you figure out whether JPMorgan is a buy today, I invite you to read our premium research report on the company today. Click here now for instant access!


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