JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon gets $17m pay

Package for JP Morgan boss 'reflects some restraint' after steering his bank through the financial crisis

The chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, has been granted a pay packet of $17m (£11m) after steering his bank through the financial crisis in relatively robust health and rescuing several failed rivals from oblivion.

Dimon, 53, received about $8m in stock and 563,562 share options expiring in 2020 which carry an estimated value of a further $8m, plus a salary of $1m. In a change from previous policy, he will not receive any of his bonus in cash and shareholders will get a consultative "say on pay" vote at JP Morgan's annual meeting.

Revealed in a regulatory filing, the payout is likely to be carefully scrutinised by JP Morgan's rivals, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which are due to reveal compensation imminently for their top executives. Investors, pundits and politicians are particularly keenly awaiting the pay package of Goldman's boss, Lloyd Blankfein, who earned a record-breaking $67.9m in 2007.

JP Morgan has been roundly hailed as a winner from the credit crunch. Under Dimon's leadership, the bank remained profitable throughout the crisis and, with backing from the US government, it bought the remnants of two collapsing rivals — the Wall Street brokerage Bear Stearns and the Seattle-based high street bank Washington Mutual.

An outspoken figure, Dimon has been a staunch defender of his industry and has criticised aspects of the Obama administration's approach to Wall Street – he complained last month about a special government levy on banks, protesting that Wall Street was being required to pay for bailouts of car companies and insurance firms.

In evidence last month to the US financial crisis inquiry commission, Dimon accepted that there were ‚"quite legitimate" concerns over pay on Wall Street but added: "I believe our compensation policies have been and remain appropriate."

JP Morgan made a profit in 2009 of $11.6bn, more than double its profit of $5.6bn in 2008. Dimon's payout was revealed just two days after he acquired $10m in JP Morgan stock by exercising options already in his portfolio.

Alan Johnson, a Wall Street compensation consultant, said Dimon's bonus was about half the amount he received at the height of the boom.

"It reflects the returns of the bank and it does reflect some restraint," said Johnson. "People are looking at this very carefully. He's a guy who's an absolutely crucial data point for the rest of the industry."


Andrew Clark

The GuardianTramp

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