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Jamie Dimon had a lot to say in his annual letter to shareholders

Dan DeFrancesco   

Jamie Dimon had a lot to say in his annual letter to shareholders
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Hello! If your eyes are hurting after looking at yesterday's solar eclipse, here's what could be wrong with them. (Yes, "sunburned eyes" is a thing.)

In today's big story, we're looking at Jamie Dimon's annual letter to shareholders and why this edition is so different.

What's on deck:

But first, Jamie's got something to say.

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The big story

Dimon sounds off

When Jamie Dimon talks, people tend to listen. And this time around, he had a lot to say.

Dimon's annual letter to shareholders grabs the business world's attention in ways most executives can only imagine. (BlackRock's Larry Fink falls into this camp as well.)

The letter goes beyond a recap of JPMorgan's current state, often opining on the biggest issues facing the US and global economies.

Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence was the topic du jour this time around. Dimon described the tech as just as innovative and impactful as the printing press, steam engine, electricity, and the internet, writes Business Insider's Jyoti Mann.

But the letter also came with a fair bit of skepticism about the state of the world, BI's Theron Mohamed writes. Dimon highlighted geopolitical tensions as a reason not to be so optimistic about the future.

It wasn't all doom and gloom. A good chunk of Dimon's letter covered economic policy changes he'd make in the US, writes BI's Juliana Kaplan. Some of his ideas included the importance of the US involvement in global conflicts and "repairing the frayed American dream."

Dimon's letter reads a lot more like someone vying to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave than the CEO of a bank.

Dimon's entire career has been in business, but he's hinted at getting into politics when he departs JPMorgan.

In 2016, he even said he'd "love" to be president but acknowledged it'd be a long shot due to his lack of political experience.

That didn't stop him from outlining some of his plans if he were to take office.

Last fall, he explained what he'd do during his first 100 days in office. It included building a bi-partisan cabinet, removing the carried-interest loophole, and focusing on growing the economy.

But Dimon's centrist approach — "My heart is Democratic but my brain is kind of Republican" — likely makes him a long-shot candidate for office.

Even as we head toward a presidential rematch most Americans didn't want, catering to both sides of the aisle has proven difficult. Multiple politicians declined serving as the presidential candidate for the centrist group No Labels, ultimately forcing it to end its bid to run a ticket this November.

The polarization of politics was something Dimon touched on in his letter, urging people to resist being "weaponized."

"We can start by trying to understand other people's and other voters' points of views, even around deeply emotional topics. We can stop insulting whole classes of voters."

3 things in markets

  1. A lot of lending is taking place without much transparency. What could possibly go wrong? The International Monetary Fund posted a blog warning about the rise of private credit lending done outside the walls of a regulated banking institution. The sector, which topped $2.1 trillion last year, is largely unsupervised, making it "hard to understand how systemic risks may be building."

  2. There's still a case for a recession. Economist David Rosenberg cited the famous recession indicator the Sahm Rule, which flashes when the three-month moving average of the US unemployment rate climbs 50 basis points from a 12-month low. While not triggered yet, it and other under-the-radar recession warnings are signaling trouble, he added.

  3. Asia-based hedge funds are eyeing up the Middle East. Firms need plenty of talent — but there are question marks hanging over both Hong Kong and Singapore. Many hedge funds are considering expanding westward into new hot spots like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

3 things in tech

  1. An all-out AI talent war may soon be underway. Microsoft is opening an AI division in London — which happens to be home to Google's DeepMind. Google is already trying to stop bleeding talent, and may now have to work even harder.

  2. Keep an eye on these European fintech startups. For our annual list of the hottest European fintechs, Business Insider asked venture capitalists to name which startups they're most excited about. The result is a list of 32 promising fintechs, spanning payments, insurance, and more.

  3. Elon Musk is turning X back into Twitter. With Tesla floundering, Musk appears to be fortifying his other businesses. "I think the whole thing about making X something dramatically different and reinventing the wheel hasn't really happened, so we're seeing a return to the basics," Gabor Cselle, a former project manager on Twitter's trends team, told BI.

3 things in business

  1. AI is ruining the Gen Z dream of becoming an influencer. A recent poll found that more than half of Gen Zers want to be full-time influencers. In addition to the already-saturated market of human influencers, they'll soon have to compete with artificial-intelligence influencers — and who can really compete with that?

  2. Saving for retirement has never felt scarier — or more confusing. Until about the 1980s, American workers typically got pensions in retirement. Now, however, they've shifted to plans like 401(k)s or IRAs, which have a bunch of downsides.

  3. Warner Bros. Discovery can start selling itself. Restrictions that prevented the combined company from buying or selling anything without a huge tax penalty expired on Monday. But very little media M&A is happening right now, for a couple of reasons.

In other news

What's happening today

  • The parents of the Oxford High School shooter will be sentenced.

  • Boeing is announcing its Q1 deliveries.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London.

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