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Wealth Planning

From Jamie Dimon: A special message

His annual letter to shareholders talks of the “extraordinary” year that was 2020—and how our firm is responding.


We are pleased to share with you Jamie Dimon’s annual letter to shareholders:

2020 was an extraordinary year by any measure. It was a year of a global pandemic, a global recession, unprecedented government actions, turbulent elections, and deeply felt social and racial injustice. It was a year in which each of us faced difficult personal challenges, and a staggering number of us lost loved ones. It was also a year when those among us with less were disproportionately hurt by joblessness and poverty. And it was a time when companies discovered what they really were and, sometimes, what they might become.

Watching events unfold throughout the year, we were keenly focused on what we, as a company, could do to serve. As I begin this annual letter to shareholders, I am proud of what our company and our tens of thousands of employees around the world achieved, collectively and individually. As you know, we have long championed the essential role of banking in a community—its potential for bringing people together, for enabling companies and individuals to reach for their dreams, and for being a source of strength in difficult times. Those opportunities were powerfully presented to us this year, and I am proud of how we stepped up. I discuss these themes later in this letter.

As I look back on the last year and the last two decades—starting from my time as CEO of Bank One in 2000—it is remarkable how much we persevered and have accomplished, not only in terms of financial performance but also in our steadfast dedication to help clients, communities and countries throughout the world. 2020 was another strong year for JPMorgan Chase, with the firm generating record revenue, as well as numerous other records in each of our lines of business. We earned $29.1 billion in net income on revenue of $122.9 billion versus $36.4 billion on revenue of $118.5 billion in 2019, reflecting strong underlying performance across our businesses offset by additional reserves under new accounting rules. We generally grew market share across our businesses and continued to make significant investments in products, people and technology, all while maintaining credit discipline and a fortress balance sheet. In total, we extended credit and raised $2.3 trillion in capital for businesses, institutional clients and U.S. customers.

JPMorgan Chase stock is owned by large institutions, pension plans, mutual funds and directly by individual investors. However, it is important to remember that in almost all cases, the ultimate beneficiaries are the individuals in our communities. More than 100 million people in the United States own stock, and a large percentage of these individuals, in one way or another, own JPMorgan Chase stock. Many of these people are veterans, teachers, police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers, retirees or those saving for a home, school or retirement. Your management team goes to work every day recognizing the enormous responsibility that we have to perform for our shareholders.

While we don’t run the company worrying about the stock price in the short run, in the long run our stock price is a measure of the progress we have made over the years. This progress is a function of continual investments in our people, systems and products, in good and bad times, to build our capabilities. Whether looking back over five years, 10 years or since the JPMorgan Chase/Bank One merger (approximately 15 years ago), these investments mean our stock has significantly outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Standard & Poor’s Financials Index. These important investments will also drive our company’s future prospects and position it to grow and prosper for decades….

…Ultimately, the basis of our success is our people. They are the ones who serve our customers and communities, build the technology, make the strategic decisions, manage the risks, determine our investments and drive innovation. Whatever your view is of the world’s complexity and the risks and opportunities ahead, having a great team of people—with guts and brains and enormous capabilities who can navigate personally challenging circumstances while dedicating themselves to professional excellence—is what ensures our prosperity, now and in the future.

Read the full Letter to Shareholders and Annual Report.

Or go directly to sections of the letter:

I. The Corporate Citizen: The Purpose of a Corporation

  1. Businesses must earn the trust of their customers and communities by acting ethically and morally.
  2. Being a responsible community citizen locally is critical, and it is easy to understand why.
  3. Being a responsible community citizen nationally, or globally, is more critical and more complex.

II. Lessons from Leadership

  1. Enforce a good decision-making process.
  2. Examine raw data and focus on real numbers.
  3. Understand when analysis is necessary and when it impedes change.
  4. Before conducting an important analysis, assess all factors involved.
  5. Always deal with reality.
  6. Remain open to learning how to become a better leader.

III. Banks’ Enormous Competitive Threats—from Virtually Every Angle

  1. Banks are playing an increasingly smaller role in the financial system.
  2. The growth in shadow and fintech banking calls for level playing field regulation.
  3. AI, the cloud and digital are transforming how we do business.
  4. Fintech and Big Tech are here…big time!
  5. JPMorgan Chase is aggressively adapting to new challenges.

IV. Specific Issues Facing Our Company

  1. Cyber risk remains a significant threat.
  2. Brexit was finally accomplished—but uncertainties linger.
  3. New accounting requirements affect reserve reporting but not how we run our business.
  4. While we disbanded Haven, we will continue to build on what we learned.

V. COVID-19 and the Economy

  1. Bold action by the Fed and the U.S. government effectively reversed financial panic.
  2. Banks entered this recent crisis in great shape and were part of the solution coming out.
  3. The confusing interplay of monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy continues through recessions.
  4. The regulatory system needs to keep up with the changing world—and finish Dodd-Frank to get it right.
  5. The pandemic accelerated remote working capabilities, which will likely carry forward.

VI.  Public Policy. American Exceptionalism, Competitiveness and Leadership: Challenged by China, COVID-19 and Our Own Competence

  1. Laying out the problems is painful.
  2. Why did—and didn’t—these failures happen?
  3. We need a comprehensive, multi-year national Marshall Plan, and we must strive for healthy growth.
  4. We need to take specific action steps.
  5. America’s global role and engagement are indispensable to the health and well-being of America.

If you would like to discuss this letter or the company’s Annual Report, please reach out to your J.P. Morgan team.

 

 

 

 

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