Q&A with Jamie Dimon at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference 2023

A Q&A session with Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

This occurred at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference on September 11, 2023.

Full transcript is here.

Consumer

I’ll tell you about the consumer, but there’s a big but, so I want to be – it’s pretty good. 80 – they have more money
than they’ve had. Home prices have gone up for the last 15 years. Asset prices have gone up. Their balance sheets in great shape. Their incomes have gone up. They’ve got more cash in their checking accounts than pre-COVID. It was a lot more and it’s been coming down. So that excess – what we call the excess savings, seems to be normalizing.

Wages are going up, particularly the low end, it’s pretty good, which is why you have a pretty good economy. And there are huge buts here. And I just think people make a mistake to look at real time numbers and not look at the future. And the future has quantitative tightening. We’ve been spending money like drunken sailors around the world. This war in Ukraine is still going on. Those are really big buts. To say the consumer’s strong today, you mean, you’re going to have a booming environment for years is a huge mistake.

Equity Capital Markets

ECM, you saw – to give you some numbers, I think in 2021, 400 IPOs; 2022, 40; this year, I don’t know, some may remember 70 or 80 so far this year. It’s open, but the open is much more for companies earning money, more legitimate, stuff like that.

And when I hear that and more people having those conversations companies going public, that it’s going to be a down round. But to me, it’s grow up on that one too, it’s not a down round. The last one was overpriced. And so, yeah, ECM is open. That can stay open until it doesn’t. And that’s the most – that’s the pipeline, it’s more like an accordion. It opens and closes over time. It opens up when values are pretty good which they are today, and it closes when people think they can get a much better thing if they wait.

My advice to a company, you can’t go public and you want to go public and you need to go public, don’t wait too long. I think the uncertainties out in front of us are still very large and very dangerous.

Heightened Edge of Caution

It’s literally the extent of the fiscal deficits. The fact that we’ve never been through quantitative tightening before. So, I think there’s a false sense of security that those two things will end out being okay. I don’t know. They’re big, huge, semi tectonic shifts that we’ve seen. Remember governments, we also have the IRA Act, the re-militarization of the world, the green economy. You’ve got a lot of stuff which is very different than the past and looks more like the seventies to me than anything else. And then this war, obviously it’s humanitarian crisis, but it is affecting all global trade, all global alliances, all global investing. America with the Middle East, America with China. And obviously, oil prices, energy prices, food prices, all of which could be hugely disrupting to geopolitics.

And I just put those category things in this bucket that says that is a tough thing, and maybe they’ll resolve and sort themselves out. Maybe they won’t. And I’m – it just puts me on heightened edge of caution. And we could be sitting here in a year and I wouldn’t be surprised of those things, if the 10-year bond is at 5.5%, or oil is at $120 or $150. And it’s only that, I don’t know, just in the back of my mind, I have to say that’s not – these things are tectonic differences what you’ve experienced since 1945. That’s what it is.

China

In terms of our own business, the risk reward, which was very good, has now become just okay. The risk is bad. Like, again, I don’t expect war with Taiwan and stuff like that. But you have this say this could go south. Henry Kissinger has spoken about this and he knows far more about international relationships and geopolitics than I do. He’s quite worried that we’re off track with China and it can lead to bad outcomes. But the other good news is, 40 years from now, they’ll probably be a fully industrialized nation with a big GDP per person, maybe not bigger than America, by the way. I think people have been a little foolish in how they looked at China as a 10 foot giant. China’s got serious problems of their own, not of our making, including geopolitical, they’ve kind of pissed off all their neighbors a little bit, all of whom are rearming, they’re not rearming because then the America did, they’re rearming because China is scaring them with their behavior in the South China Sea, et cetera.