Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Follow the Dimon!

For months I have been arguing in my blog posts that the larger banks have already moved beyond the regulators although they have always been far in advance of the politicians. These latter two groups of people are attempting to create a regulatory system that will prevent the events of 2007 through 2009 from happening again.

Would somebody tell them that the big banks are somewhere else.

JPMorgan Chase announced some major changes in their top management structure yesterday. These changes, to me, are just the most visible sign that the banking of the future is going to be significantly different from the banking of the past. But, we’ll come back to this later on.

The management changes also confirm, to me, that Jamie Dimon is the pre-eminent banker in today’s world.


A long time ago I stopped looking at the “glow” of the person running things, the Chairman, President, or CEO, and I started concentrating on the people around the glorious leader. I found that the fact that the leader of an organization had very, very capable and experienced people around them was a better indicator of the quality of the person in charge than was his or her own sparkling image.

Top people have top people around them. In addition, winners help to make everyone around them perform better.

Jamie Dimon has these qualities.

I believe that Jack Welch also had them.

One person I had contacts with at one time who, I felt, didn’t have these qualities and was a disaster waiting to happen, was Donald Rumsfeld.

Jamie Dimon has a top notch team around him and is positioning them to take on the world. In my estimate, more than one of the individuals that are on this team will be a Chief Executive Officer of a major bank in the United States…or, the world.

Many people that Jack Welch had around him went on to lead major companies around the world.

But, back to the banking changes: JPMorgan is going off-shore!

The New York Times has it right, “JPMorgan Sets Sights Overseas,” ( Dimon has given out the mandate to his closest lieutenants “to start a global corporate banking business and scout out opportunities in Europe, Latin America and Asia.” Mr. Dimon, himself, has recently been in China, India, and Russia and wants to especially focus on these three BRIC countries as well as Brazil and also Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and parts of Africa.

My suggestion: Watch what Mr. Dimon and JPMorgan do. My guess is that they will point the way to the future and will do a good job along the way!

But, what about American and Europe?

In terms of banking and finance, I am not sure the political and governmental leaders in these areas of the world know what they are doing. For one, as I have said over and over again, in terms of financial regulation…they are fighting the last war!

Politically, both areas are split and looking for direction. No one can tell at this time where “direction” will come from.

So, what better time than this to move to where the action is going to be!

If anything, the fiasco going on in Washington, D. C. is going to drive business and finance further off shore. The BRIC nations are becoming wealthier and more savvy in the world. They are also accumulating more power as will be in evidence in the upcoming G-20 meetings. But, as Mr. Dimon indicates, there is a lot more going on if one looks to the other countries he has highlighted in his recent statements.

Moving in this direction will involve acquisitions, something that JPMorgan has already started doing. To build itself into a larger presence in these markets in a timely fashion, the company will have to acquire significant other properties. JPMorgan Chase is going to get bigger.

And, Washington was concerned with the size of the banks in the United States that were “too big to fail” in 2008?

Furthermore, this doesn’t even get into one of my favorite subjects, the “quantification” of finance. What is going on with respect to the “quants” in JPMorgan? My guess is that there has been significant movement in this area as well over the past two years.

The future of banking?

Keep your eyes on the Dimon. I think you will find that it will be time well spent!