Friday, July 12, 2013

Open Letter to Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase and Company

Dear Mr. Dimon,

I saw your interview today. You were impressive as always. I congratulate you on your loyalty to JP Morgan Chase and Co. I am confident you have been a pivotal person in the leadership that has lead the great financial institution to the success it is today. JP Morgan Chase and Co. was the only great financial institution sincerely solvent when the third quarter of 2008 rolled around. That is no minor accomplishment. Still today the cost of a stock certificate of JP Morgan Chase and Co. is affordable to the average American. It is a worthwhile investment if one is looking for success in the long view.

I agreed with most of what you stated today in your interview. I agreed with most of it, but, we do disagree about one thing. You might be able to guess.

I found it refreshing to have a CEO of such a large institution believe deeply in the USA. If that is an expression of loyalty to the extent you are a part of JP Morgan Chase and Co. then we are lucky to have you here. The USA needs loyalty. It's Middle Class is vitally important to the USA economy and even still to the global economy. But, I don't have to tell you that. 

You stated, "The USA has the best economy in the world. The deepest, widest and most transparent. The markets of the USA are historic." I suggest the transparency is what makes it the deepest, widest and best.

You stated JP Morgan Chase and Co. are risk averse, seeking the lowest risk possible. The highest risk investment at JP Morgan is lending. Yet it is still carrying the largest lending to American Small Business, believing small businesses will recover with economic growth.

Globally you serve 16,000 diverse clients in the world and find the most volatility in emerging markets. But you also said it is always best to seek a sounder and safer financial future. You included government regulation as a method; partner if you will; to achieve sounder and safer financial futures. 

The Volcker Rule isn't written yet, but, you did not see it as a threat so much as a measure to support the financial future of the markets. That is rather admirable. The Middle Class of the USA and Small Businesses need a level of confidence different from JP Morgan and I am sure that is part of your calculus. 

I wish you well and hope for your continued success and steadfastness, however, there one thing. 


I have four grandchildren, two wonderful sons and their spouses. I have an extensive Irish-American family with many, many youngsters at varied ages, shapes and sizes. Once a year we rent a golf course and a catering building for an annual reunion. It is something to see and be a part of.

I realize making money is a great deal of fun for someone like you. It is necessary for the success of JP Morgan. I understand that. I realize the money made from the petroleum industry is more than fun, it is a lot of fun. However, it is not a lot of fun for the global community that does not live in the same ivory tower as those making decisions within large institutions that imperil their lives. The American people are among those communities.

There are many names for the peril we all face; ivory tower or not; Climate Change, Human Induced Global Warming or what I prefer the Climate Crisis Induced by Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases including methane and carbon dioxide.

I don't expect someone like you to disdain the monies you oversee so much as tp exclude viable investment opportunities. I have no desire to collapse JP Morgan Chase, you were autonomous in 2008. What I do ask is when those decisions are in regard to greenhouse gas emissions you have a company policy to temper them.

The rarest commodity you will ever handle, Mr. Dimon, is Earth and the future. You do consider the future at JP Morgan Chase and Company. That is a fact. If you think for one minute the decisions you make do not have an effect on Earth you are sadly mistaken.

The Climate Crisis is very expensive and hacks away at the very profits you seek. Some benefits come from rebuilding, but, would that not happen anyway over time?

There are great institutions just like JP Morgan Chase and Co. is a great institution, that can add to the insight you should have for policies to reflect company values. Great institutions such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute or the Earth scientists such as James Hansen from the Goddard Space Labs or better yet my favorite Dr. Christopher Fields of Stamford. There are populous figures such as Bill Nye from Cornell University. Mr. Nye knows the deal and it is not a perfect outcome. Some would say it is rather grim. Not at all what I would want to read as a bedtime story to my grandchildren.

I ask you to consider the impact you have from your office at JP Morgan Chase to the outcomes we face with our planet. You are pivotal there, kindly consider being pivotal within the calculus of Earth's biotic content and the cost the Climate Crisis has on your investments. Certainly, bankruptcy of failed businesses because of these tragic outcomes does not serve you well. Hedging against the Climate Crisis might make those loans less risky.

The Blue Marble. Our beautiful planet. The tropospheric air we are handing our future generations needs to be a priority with JP Morgan Chase as well as governments and great institutions across the face of Earth.

Kindly adopt policies, not just donations, that influence the best outcomes, not just mediocre outcomes of our precious space in this universe. It might be a lot to ask, but, recently The World Bank pleaded it's case regarding this matter. I know you are up to it. 

Best regards,
Elisa Barrett

The jurors of the Zimmerman trail want a list of the evidence.

It sounds as though they are settling in to make a decision, but, it doesn't sound as though it would be soon. They haven't yet decided. That is good, at least we all know they are taking these decisions very seriously.

Wall Street running out the clock.

After weeks of speculation, (click here) it looks like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will conclude a foreign regulatory issue this Friday, July 12th. The vote will regard how domestic regulations on swaps apply to foreign firms wishing to do business with those in the United States.

The regulations have become a devisive issue in the CFTC , with commissioners on the board giving competing advice on what exactly to do. Current CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, Democrat, has advocated applying the domestic regulations to the foreign firms as well, but there has been some dissent. Mark Wetjen, Republican, has recommended being more cautious with a ruling on foreign firms, citing that it may hurt, rather than help, the US economy.

Conjecture that Gary Gensler’s term would be over in July prompted some to think that voting on swaps regulation would occur after his position were filled by someone else.

This issue has become important for the derivatives market, and some key players have gotten involved in the recent discussions with the regulatory giant. Speculation that foreign firms would be required to comply with CFTC standards has purportedly caused instability in the market.

The interested parties go beyond just banks, firms and regulators though. Recently, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has weighed in on the issue. In an interview with the Hill on June 20th, she said that “It would be a real mistake for commissioners to think they can run out the clock and just hold tight until Gary Gensler’s term expires. I will certainly still be here and watching this process very closely” But since it appears Gary Gensler will also vote on the regulation’s application to foreign markets, her concerns were unfounded.

As head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], Brooksley Born became alarmed by the lack of oversight of the secretive, multitrillion-dollar over-the-counter derivatives market. Her attempts to regulate derivatives ran into fierce resistance from then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and then-Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who prevailed upon Congress to stop Born and limit future regulation. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Aug. 28, 2009.

Brooksley Born resigned on June 1, 1999, and later commented the failure of Long-Term Capital Management and the subsequent bailout as being indicative what she had been trying to prevent. Born resigned as chairperson on June 1, 1999, shortly after Congress passed legislation prohibiting her agency from regulating derivatives.

Vocabulary to know of which the market became dependent upon. These instruments were once regulated by the CFTC.

Swap Exemption
Hybrid Instrument Rule
Swap Policy Statement
Hybrid Interpretation

It was like my worst nightmare coming true. (click here) I had had enormous concerns about the over-the-counter derivatives [OTC] market, including credit default swaps, for a number of years. The market was totally opaque; we now call it the dark market. So nobody really knew what was going on in the market.

And then it became obvious as Lehman Brothers failed, as AIG [American International Group] suddenly appeared to be on the brink of tremendous defaults and turned out had been a major credit default swap dealer and needed hundreds of billions of dollars to keep it alive, the contagion in the marketplace from those failures brought many, many of our biggest financial services companies to the brink of collapse. And it was very frightening....