JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has made it clear that he does not want his employees to “seek advantage” from “Muppetgate.” Though many may see this as honor among thieves, I see it as the logical thing to do.
Reuters obtained a copy of an e-mail Dimon sent to JP Morgan employees stating “I want to be clear that I don’t want anyone here to seek advantage from a competitor’s alleged issues or hearsay — ever.”
Dimon's remarks are no big surprise since no other bank would want any long-time employees speaking ill of it in such a public manner the way Greg Smith did of Goldman Sachs in a New York Times Op-ed on Wednesday. It is both rapacious and treasonous in the eyes of fellow bankers. Dimon wants his employees to know that any behavior like this is beneath both him and them.
In a previous article I wrote for PolicyMic, I was derided in comments for saying that no firm would hire Smith after publishing his resignation letter in the New York Times. Though I understand the disagreement in opinion among readers of my article, I doubt many of them have worked in the financial industry.
“Who’s going to hire someone who would do that?” former Goldman partner and current NYU finance professor Roy Smith told Bloomberg News. “The industry will close ranks on such things as whistle-blowing in this context.”
Though it may be good PR, it just isn’t practical to hire someone who has no filter. Though clients may see it as a good thing, employers will forever live in fear that if Smith sees one thing he doesn’t like it will be broadcast to the world. It’s easier to just avoid that potential problem all together.
Dimon, who is also director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, is seen as above the fray when it comes to Wall Street. JPMorgan was in better shape than any other bank during the recession and did not even need federal TARP funds. Still, Dimon agreed to take the funds to lead by example. He is seen as a standards bearer in the industry. If JPMorgan were to dive into the cesspool by profiting at Goldman Sach’s expense, they would take every other bank with them.
As Dimon said in the email, “It’s not the way we do business.”
Photo Credit: Financial Times