JPMorgan CEO Dimon says he’s ‘religious’ about paying bankers well

JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon said he wants to “keep our best people” and is willing to pay up to do so.

JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, has faced pressure to explain to investors its swelling expense base after unveiling ambitious spending plans in January.

“I want to keep our best people and we have to pay well to keep our best people,” Dimon said during a wide-ranging discussion at the Allianz Bernstein strategic decisions conference. “We are quite religious about that.”

Banks have struggled to keep a lid on spiralling banker pay over the past 12 months as an unprecedented deal boom has led to a talent war and retention crisis. As well as bonus increases at banks including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs last year, salaries have been increasing as banks battled to retain top talent.

READ Daniel Pinto: The quiet man who could be king at JPMorgan

On 17 May, JPMorgan shareholders rejected a $50m retention bonus for Dimon, with just 31% of investors voting in favour of the bank’s pay plans at the annual shareholder meeting. Daniel Pinto, the chief executive of its corporate and investment bank, was also handed a stock award in December worth around $25m.

When unveiling its annual results in January, the bank outlined a more cautious outlook while saying it intended to spend an $3.5bn on technology, hiring and acquisitions to tackle rising competition.

Dimon said that the cost pressures facing JPMorgan were “no different from anywhere” as rising inflation becomes a topic of concern. The bank hosted an extensive investor day on 23 May, where it outlined more detail on spending and priorities for each of its business lines.

Shares of the bank rose by around 6% in the aftermath of the presentations.

READ JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon has $50m bonus rejected by shareholders

JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America spent $142bn on pay and benefits in 2021 — an increase of 15%. In January, Deutsche Bank chief executive, Christian Sewing, said he was “very concerned” about increasing banker pay.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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