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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gems from Jamie Dimon's investor letters

For the uninitiated, Jamie Dimon has been Bank of America CEO since 2006, and had done a great job.His shareholder communication to investors(via letters available at http://investor.shareholder.com/jpmorganchase/annual.cfm) goes beyond the standard boilerplate, and gives a great window into how one of the top banking CEOs think. Some nuggets from those letters are reproduced below, which will convince you that he is indeed the Warren Buffet of banking, when it comes to letters.
  1. On community involvement:-If we were the neighborhood store, we would give kids summer
    jobs, sponsor local sports teams and support community based organizations. We operate this way..
  2. On performance linked pay:- Compensation is not an entitlement; it should reflect an individual’s and a team’s contribution to helping make this a great company.We want to be one of the best-paying companies – but only when we are one of the best-performing companies..we try to recognize when a friendly market, rather than excellent performance, lifts results
  3. On becoming lean and efficient:- It is not just about cutting costs. A company cannot become great just by cutting costs. It is about building better systems to better serve our customers. It is about paying our people not only fairly, but effectively, to help create the right behavior.It is about how we run meetings. It is about designing the right products that are also profitable. (Many companies design products that lose money, and they do not even know it.) It is about constantly improving productivity...
  4. On cost control by cost pooling:-  maintain at Corporate all of what we deemed to be “inefficient
    costs,” i.e., costs borne by the businesses without receiving commensurate benefits and costs that were dramatically higher than they should have been. Examples included vacant real estate, outdated data centers, information technology costs that were sometimes two to three times what they should have been, or staff support costs that were simply too high.We moved these costs to Corporate so we could a) see what the businesses were really earning; b) bring
    into sharp relief these Corporate expenses and put pressure on ourselves to reduce them; and c) hold the businesses accountable for clearly defined costs that they could control.

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