Great Britain

JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon is paid $31.5m after decrying income inequality

Jamie Dimon, the billionaire boss of JP Morgan who has warned income inequality has “bifurcated the economy” in America, was paid $31.5m in 2020, the bank announced on Thursday.

The news is likely to cast a harsh spotlight on a figure who has opined about the need for a more caring and equitable capitalism yet appears to have vastly increased his fortune at a time of immense suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic that has seen millions of people plunged into poverty and homelessness.

JP Morgan paid Dimon a salary of $1.5m, a $5m cash bonus and $25m of restricted stock tied to performance, according to a regulatory filing. The total was the same as last year even though the bank has enjoyed “stellar” growth in some areas, according to analysts.

In 2019 JP Morgan paid Dimon $31.5m, a 1.6% increase from the $31m he received for 2018. His latest pay deal comes after the bank posted better than expected quarterly results last week. JP Morgan enjoyed a record fourth quarter for trading in 2020 which boosted the bank’s revenues to $30.16bn in revenue, exceeding analysts’ estimates.

Dimon, who Forbes estimates has a fortune at $1.7bn, is one of a handful of billionaires who have warned that the excesses of capitalism are threatening the foundation of society.

In 2019 he told CBS’s 60 Minutes that income inequality is a “huge problem” but dodged questions about his own salary.

In the same year, launching a $350m program to help underserved communities, Dimon warned income inequality had “bifurcated the economy”.

“A big chunk of [people] have been left behind. Forty per cent of Americans make less than $15 an hour. Forty percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 bill, whether it’s medical or fixing their car. Fifteen per cent of Americans make minimum wages, 70,000 die from opioids [annually],” said Dimon.

But Dimon warned that socialism was not the answer, saying it produces “stagnation, corruption and often worse”.

Last year Dimon joined a glittering array of corporate bigs to tackle racial inequality. Following the police killing of George Floyd the Business Roundtable, the US’s most powerful business lobby and an organization that Dimon used to chair, announced it was forming a committee to tackle inequality.

Dimon is thought to harbor political ambitions and was tipped as a possible treasury secretary before the election, a position now almost certain to go to Janet Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve.

He once claimed he would have easily beat Donald Trump in an election fight. “I’m smarter than he is,” he said in 2018. “And, by the way, this wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money,” he said. “It wasn’t a gift from Daddy.”

But he said the liberal wing of the Democrat party would probably block his chances. Shortly after making the comments Dimon said: “I should not have said it,” adding that the statement “proves I wouldn’t make a good politician”.

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