2013 was a tough year for J.P. Morgan (JPM) and its embattled chief, Jamie Dimon, at least in the court of public opinion. The bank paid over $15 billion to settle various regulatory inquiries into alleged wrongdoing and suffered its first quarterly loss during Dimon’s tenure as CEO.
Dimon, meanwhile, seemingly became policymakers’ favorite whipping boy, a sharp fall from grace for the man once hailed as ‘the world’s best banker’ and ‘Obama’s favorite banker.’
But don’t shed a tear for J.P. Morgan or its chieftain, who is getting a raise for 2013, according to various reports. Both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal report Dimon’s 2013 compensation will be higher than the $11.5 million he took home in 2012. It is unclear how much of a boost Dimon is going to get but, notably, his 2012 compensation was half of what he earned in 2011, when he took home a whopping $23.1 million and was top man on the bank CEO totem pole.
(Update: In a regulatory filiing Friday afternoon, JPMorgan disclosed Dimon's total compensation for 2013 will be $20 million.)
In the world of executive compensation, Dimon’s 2012 pay of “just” $11.5 million served as a sharp rebuke from the board while his 2013 raise is his reward for steering J.P. Morgan through the regulatory gauntlet — even if much of the alleged malfeasance occurred on his watch. Dimon was reportedly instrumental and played a direct role in negotiating deals with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the crisis ($13 billion) and U.S. attorney Preet Bharara over J.P. Morgan’s handling of Bernie Madoff’s accounts ($2 billion). And despite all the negative headlines and big fines, J.P. Morgan reported annual profits of $17.9 billion in 2013, its stock rose 33% and hit the highest level since before the 2008 crisis.
“Who else was going to steer this ship through the unbelievable amount of waves these regulatory bodies cast upon this poor bank? Victims, really is what they are,” observes Jeff Macke in the accompanying video. “[Dimon] went from ‘king of Wall Street’ to something of a martyr. And to assuage that pain, that suffering, he’s going to get something extra” for 2013.
Reflecting on this news, Macke is reevaluating his view of the relationship between Wall Street and its regulators. “I [earlier] called the relationship between Washington and Wall Street extortion. I was wrong, it’s a licensing deal,” he says. “They’ve made this little pact: Wall Street pretends to be sorry and Washington pretends to be cracking down.”
To be sure, Dimon isn’t the only Wall Street executive to be rewarded for a job well done in 2013: Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman was awarded nearly $5 million in stock bonus for 2013, up 88% from the prior year. Notably, “the stock awards are only a slice of Mr. Gorman’s total pay,” The WSJ reports, noting the executive was paid $1.5 million in salary and is eligible to receive additional shares, and deferred cash and options. Morgan Stanley (MS) shares rose 64% last year as the firm returned to profitability after its 2012 loss.
The days ahead should bring more details about executive pay and year-end bonsues on Wall Street, where compensation is way down from the go-go years (pre 2008) but still in the stratosphere relative to just about any other industry.