JPMorgan's Dimon calls settling legal issues 'nerve-wracking'

Wed Apr 9, 2014 6:51pm EDT
 
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By David Henry

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co, said that settling the big bank's wide-ranging legal cases with multiple government agencies last year was "the most painful, difficult and nerve-wracking experience that I have ever dealt with professionally."

In a 30-page annual letter to shareholders released by the company on Wednesday, Dimon made the comment as he took another step toward putting behind him the issues that cost the company more than $20 billion.

"We thought the best option, perhaps the only sensible option," Dimon wrote, "was to acknowledge our issues and settle as much as we could all at once, albeit at a high price."

But Dimon, 58, appeared to bite his tongue from sharing any further thoughts on how the company was targeted by prosecutors. "There is much to say and a lot to be learned in analyzing what happened, but I am not going to do so in this letter — more distance and perspective are required."

Dimon also provided more details on the $2 billion of additional annual spending by the company to comply with new rules and regulations.

JPMorgan will have added 13,000 employees through the end of 2014 since the beginning to 2012 for regulatory compliance and risk control, Dimon said. The company employed about 251,000 people at the end of December.

Some 8,000 employees are now dedicated solely to combating money laundering, Dimon said. The company was sanctioned last year by regulators for its weak system to thwart money laundering. Dimon acknowledged in the letter that JPMorgan executives previously had been too self-assured when they had seen competitors get in trouble with regulators over their systems.

"Our response generally was, 'We know what we're doing.' Well, we should have done more self-examination. We need to be better listeners and do a better job at examining critiques of others so we can learn from other people's mistakes, too," he wrote.   Continued...

 
JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon speaks during a discussion on "Closing the Workforce Skills Gap" at the Aspen Institute in Washington December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Theiler