Jamie Dimon has dismissed claims that stakeholder capitalism is “woke”, pushing again in opposition to conservative criticism of the environmental and social agenda that a lot of company America has embraced in recent times.
In a freewheeling interview at a convention on Wednesday, the JPMorgan Chase chief govt described himself as “a red-blooded free-market capitalist” and mentioned folks had misinterpreted his push for stakeholder capitalism as chair of the Business Roundtable.
“I’m not woke. And I think people are mistaking the stakeholder capitalism thing for being woke,” Dimon informed a convention organised by Autonomous Research.
“All we’re saying is when we wake up in the morning, what we give a shit about is serving customers, earning their respect, earning their repeat business,” he added.
Dimon’s feedback got here as massive US banks reminiscent of JPMorgan have confronted criticism from Republican politicians over supposed discrimination in opposition to industries together with the power sector and gun producers.
Pat Toomey, the highest Republican on the Senate banking committee, mentioned throughout a listening to final yr, at which Dimon testified, that he was “concerned about increasing pressure on banks to embrace ‘wokeism’”. JPMorgan was additionally considered one of 19 monetary corporations that obtained a letter in March from the Texas comptroller asking to make clear whether or not they had been boycotting fossil gasoline corporations.
This is regardless of JPMorgan being the most important financier by far of fossil gasoline corporations within the six years for the reason that Paris Agreement was signed in 2016, in keeping with a report produced by a coalition of marketing campaign teams organised by the Rainforest Action Network. The financial institution, nonetheless, pledged in 2020 that it could now not finance new drilling initiatives within the Arctic.
Dimon mentioned on Wednesday the financial institution was “quite serious about climate” however mentioned the US was not “getting climate right”.
He additionally argued that JPMorgan wished to deal with its staff with respect no matter their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation, however mentioned some corporations had been going too far in a few of their social positions. He didn’t elaborate.
“Any senator or congressman who says that’s woke, they’re not thinking clearly because I want to win in the marketplace. I want the best employees, I want happy employees,” Dimon mentioned.
“I don’t think people should get involved in some of these issues where it’s far more detailed than you think and people [are] just getting jazzed up about, you got to do this. No, you don’t.”
Dimon’s feedback echoed remarks this yr by BlackRock’s chief govt Larry Fink, who mentioned buyers who centered on the pursuits of wider society quite than pure income weren’t “woke”.
Dimon, who was chatting with a crowd of buyers and analysts, additionally lambasted public firm shareholders who observe the recommendation of proxy advisers Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services.
“If that’s how you vote, shame on you. I mean seriously, you should be embarrassed, OK? And do your own homework,” Dimon mentioned.
Just weeks earlier, JPMorgan shareholders voted in opposition to the financial institution’s govt pay plan, partially as a result of Glass Lewis had suggested buyers to vote no.
“This shit I hear from people about, well, you know there’s too many [shareholder proposals] — no there’s not. If you own 100 companies, the average proxy has got six [proposals], that’s 600, there may be 10 that matter,” Dimon mentioned.
ISS declined to remark; Glass Lewis didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Additional reporting by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York and Emiliya Mychasuk in London