What Did Jamie Dimon REALLY Know?

Jamie Dimon

We will probably never know for sure, but watching him this morning on the live hearings I was struck by his lack of canned answers. He owned the failure of leadership to catch the problem before it blew up and admitted he was responsible. He also informed the senators he did not know if the current legislation would be sufficient to avert this from happening again.

How refreshing!

A CEO who did not have all the snappy answers and the canned PR verbiage to respond to the grilling he took. Amazing.

I am reminded of the appearances of the CEOs of the top oil companies and their arrogance a few years ago. What a striking contrast!
This is in no way an excuse for what occurred at the London office of JPMorganChase. Or the lack of oversight of the risks they were taking. It was just wrong. But he realized something very important: complacency is the basis of big mistakes.

How easy it is to fall into the trap of familiarity. I see that in my own business. There are just four of us but each of us has distinct roles and job descriptions to follow. We all have blinders on to the tasks being performed by others. And unless there is a reason to question that work, we don’t. Compliance reporting once a year has a way of flushing that out.

How many couples do the same with their money? Husband pays the monthly bills and the wife does the food shopping. Do they ever question the other’s responsibilities or performance? Only if they run out of money, the cupboards are bare, or the mail produces a nasty notice the spouse happens to see.

And yet, we don’t want to constrict the others from performing their duties by placing so many rules and regulations that it becomes onerous.
Not sure where the fine line ends. But Jamie Dimon did a brilliant job of holding up the mirror to our own vulnerabilities.
Now, if we can only have access to the checkbook he has to work with, we could make it all right very easily!



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