Easy Street - Most Commented
The Art of Rubbing It In
For JP Morgan, pride goeth before the $2 billion trading fall - and schadenfreude from rivals comes after:
A huge portion of Wall Street's banking model is built around the idea of, 'I'm going to bet against my clients.'...and I see that and say, These are my clients! It's my job to make sure my client makes money, and know that I'll be rewarded for it.
That quote comes from Ed Clark, CEO of Toronto-Dominion Bank, or TD Bank, who revels in the description "old-fashioned banker." He gave an interview to Bloomberg TV's Erik Schatzker in a piece on the risk-management superiority of our Canuck neighbors.
This kind of thing falls under the rubric of what CNN's Lizzie O'Leary sassily identified last week as "Dimonfreude." But it has perhaps a bit less impact when you count the Canadian government's "liquidity support" to their banks - $114 billion at the peak - as a plain old bailout.
No, Mr. Dimon, I Expect You to Die...of Mortification
You might recognize the line above from Goldfinger, in which Bond asks, "Do you expect me to talk?" -- only to get the searing reply, "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die."
This would work better as an arch metaphor, here, if there were such a thing as Death by Complex Derivatives. But, c'est la vie.
Talking - and the lack thereof - is likely to be a big subject tomorrow morning, when JP Morgan's shareholder meeting starts in Tampa, Florida.
The words from Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan's CEOs, should be as honeyed as possible. You know things are probably going to be bad when shareholders are girding their loins, which the Wall Street Journal fully expects them to do. And what are they girding for? Why, more official decapitations, of course. The heads set to roll this time - if one influential shareholder has its druthers - belong to Ellen Futter and James Crown, both members of the board of directors.
The shareholder group CtW Investment Group said it will send a letter Monday afternoon to J.P. Morgan's presiding director Lee Raymond and other board members calling for J.P. Morgan to replace James Crown as chairman of the board's Risk Policy Committee, and remove Ellen Futter, a director who is a member of the risk committee, according to the letter, which was reviewed in advance by The Wall Street Journal.
Given the players, perhaps Bond is the wrong hero. Perhaps this could be called The James Crown Affair.
Of course, more transparency is the goal. But only Mr. Dimon - who has admitted his knowledge of the extent of the losses is slim-- knows if he will remain purse-lipped in the face of shareholder questioning.