Just because Jamie Dimon, the chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase (JPM 6.19%), is the most visible and highest regarded leader of a major Wall Street bank doesn't mean that he's immune from saying and doing stupid and immature things.
At an investors' conference at the end of February, he boasted about why he's so much richer than Mike Mayo, a bank analyst at CLSA. And, no, as Reuters' James Saft noted, it's not because Dimon is better than Mayo at picking lottery tickets. The reason, according to Dimon, concerned Mayo's intimation that Swiss lender UBS is perceived by some affluent customers to be safer than JPMorgan because the former has a higher capital ratio. While I don't mean to dismiss Dimon's completely illogical explanation, the reality has more to do with the fact that Dimon's father landed him a job with Sandy Weill in 1982. But that's water under the bridge.
What isn't water under the bridge is the suggestion that Dimon might leave JPMorgan if he's forced to give up his role as chairman of the board. It was revealed in the middle of last year that the nation's largest bank by assets would have to take a roughly $6 billion loss tied to the trading of certain credit derivatives by the bank's chief investment office. Multiple heads rolled, including the chief investment officer's, Dimon's annual pay was cut, and now shareholders are threatening to vote in favor of a proposal that separates the positions of chairman and chief executive officer -- both Bank of America (BAC 5.94%) and Citigroup (C 6.07%) have done the same thing over the past few years.
But here's the icing on the cake, according to an analyst quoted today by Bloomberg News: "If the board is forced by a shareholder vote to strip Jamie Dimon of his chairman's role, then shareholders may find that Jamie Dimon decides to move on, maybe not immediately but within the year."
Is that a bluff, blackmail, extortion, or an ultimatum? At this point, it seems more like an unsubstantiated rumor. But that being said, it's a worthwhile reminder of how even Wall Street's best and brightest believe they are beyond reproach.
With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal, or whether finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help figure out whether JPMorgan is a buy today, I invite you to read our premium research report on the company. Click here now for instant access!