To LB from JD:
Here's my notes from our late night edit session. I've got to send this to the printer posthaste. Let me know what you think or if I missed anything.
Let's face it. 2008 blew.In the annals of annual reports, 2008 has the feel of anal warts.(See what I did there? Still, you're right. Too up-beat given the new positive press on anal cancer). In last year's shareholder letter, I referred to feeling like we had ridden bare-assed across 60 meters of broken glass covered asphalt(Big auto is on the outs. Let's go with the airplane metaphors instead). the "turbulence" and "unprecedented" nature of events that had taken place during the preceding months. Despite the fact that we predicted a quick recovery.Though our estimates of the duration of the crisis were totally off.Our analysts dropped the ball on ourWe did not know when the cycle would end or the extent of the damage it would cause. But we did know that we had to "prepare for assrape the likes of which even a warf whore could not appreciate(Tim is sensitive about this term. Let's elide it). a severe economic downturn." When it became obvious that government money was going to be available in size.Never one to turn away a profit. Collectively, we resolved to navigate through the tough conditions, to help our clients in every way we could and to show leadership in the industry, as has been our legacy during times of crisis. After 12 moons.(You're right. Too pagan now that Bush is out of office. Worked nicely last year though.) It is now a year later. What transpired was largely unprecedented and virtually inconceivable. Our firm tried to meet every challenge, and, in the process, we distinguished ourselves in our service to clients and communities. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the firm and its subsidiaries last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'(I loved it last night, it sounds very... British this morning) Although our financial results were weak in absolute terms (but fairly good in relative terms), reflecting terrible market conditions, I believe--and I hope you agree--that this year may have been one of our finest.
Like any firm, we would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do Adam Smith's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a firm, will get to the promised land.(I still don't understand what your objection to this line has to do with the new President, but if it upsets you so much, fine). The way forward will not be easy. We do not know what the future will bring, but we do know that it will require everyone--the banks, the regulators and the government -- to work together and get it right. As we prepare for a very tough 2009, with most signs pointing to continued deterioration of the economy, we still remain long-term optimists about our future and that of our country. Whatever may come, we will meet the challenge.
(I really am not sure I like the new version as much. It lacks... punch. But I agree, in times like these it's better to stay a bit under the radar. I still don't understand why the "Mountaintop" piece doesn't work with this Administration, but you know that storming out on me like that always gets you your way so fine).
Annual Letter To Shareholders / Proxy Statement [JP Morgan Chase]