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TheStreet Open House

Now Is Not the Time to Insult Dimon

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The media has been making plenty of hay in advance of the nonbinding vote of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shareholders on whether or not to split James Dimon's dual roles as CEO and chairman of the board, but voting against Dimon would do nothing for investors.

There have been reports that Dimon has indicated he would consider leaving JPMorgan Chase entirely if the shareholder vote were to go against him.

And what would shareholders gain from Dimon's exit?

Politicians and regulators continue to target JPMorgan Chase, in the wake of last year's "London Whale" hedge trading losses in the company's Chief Investment Office (CIO), which cost the bank at least $6.2 billion.

Even beyond the congressional and regulatory investigations of the London Whale losses, there are numerous regulatory investigations and other actions being taken against the nation's largest bank holding company, including an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York of JPMorgan Chase's compliance as a participant in the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Direct Endorsement Program.


JPMorgan has been sued by the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York for wrongdoing in connection with assignments of mortgage and the use of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System. It has also been operating under regulatory consent orders related to the mortgage industry's foreclosure settlement with federal regulators.

But as the largest U.S. bank holding company operating in the post-crisis environment, following an industry bailout through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, it is to be expected that JPMorgan face its share of regulatory and legal hurdles.

Does anyone really think the regulatory and political pressure on the company would ease of Dimon were to leave?

State attorneys general have nothing to lose and everything to gain, whenever they hold press conferences bashing the big banks. That will continue, as long as possible, whether or not Dimon is at the helm of JPMorgan Chase.


The media has given plenty of clout to proxy advisory firms like Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, who have both advised shareholders to vote to split JPMorgan's CEO and chairman roles. Those firms have conveniently jumped on the anti-Dimon bandwagon, saying that having a chairman to watch over a CEO would equal better corporate governance.

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