Even losses don't slow pay rise for JPMorgan CEO

January 27, 2014 

Jamie Dimon’s companies, in his career on Wall Street, have been up and down, playing the wild and wooly games of acquisition and selling and trading that mystify small investors and ordinary Americans who know they have money from their 401(k) savings on Wall Street but don’t understand much about it.

Dimon himself has been mostly up, emerging from the various crises in the Great Recession to ride atop the financial market world as chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank.

And now the golden boy of Wall Street is higher still, with the company’s board of directors approving what amounts to a 74 percent raise for Dimon (rhymes with diamond) for 2013 – to $20 million in salary and stock. In the last five years, Dimon, whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions, took home compensation totaling $70 million.

This comes, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, despite big trading losses and billions of dollars in “regulatory and criminal” settlements.

But Dimon’s still gold, apparently, to his board of directors.

Dimon might have been a wizard of a CEO this past year, but for a board to issue these kinds of rewards when the company has had its share of troubles is inappropriate, and that’s putting it mildly. At least that’s how it looks to many Americans who feel kicked in the teeth by the Great Recession, which resulted in part from the risky and reckless ways of Wall Street.

Despite all the big banks’ problems, few if any of the high-rollers who helped to bring on the recession have suffered in any way or faced any kind of reckoning.

Following some of the hard-fought regulatory changes pushed through by the Obama administration, the big players in the financial industry continued to work to remove new rules and basically return to the kind of loose-rein regulation that put the country at risk of financial collapse. They even opposed creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which oversees a variety of things, including the credit card industry.

Apparently, if they can’t rid the country of regulation, they’ll at least show they can pay their kingpins whatever they like, no matter how it looks to the rest of us.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service