Did you wake up feeling a little more energetic? Did you sing a happy song in the shower and drop a surprisingly flirty wink on your barista? Did you wonder where all this mystery joy was coming from?
It's JPMORGAN INVESTOR DAY, you idiot!
So he hope you chugged some Red Bull, crushed the cans on your forehead, broke out your JPM foam fingers and grabbed your Marianne Lake bobbleheads, because it WAS CRUNK!!! [Air horn sound effect]
The "Gathering of The Jamieloos" 2017 was pretty great.
We've already talked about Mike Mayo showing up unattended like the most powerful orphan in financial investing, and then there was the whole timing of staring into the existential abyss of the American soul and JPM's place in that uncertain future. But like anything even loosely associated with America's largest bank, there was really only one person that everyone came to see...
And the Khaleesi of Wall Street did not disappoint. In fact, The Man Who Should Be Treasury Secretary was as loose as we've ever heard him. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.
Jamie was upbeat...really upbeat...like 2007 upbeat. While listening to live audio of the appearance, one could hear Jamie pounding a podium to drive home his points as he talked. He was sanguine about the possibilities of Trumpian reform, super-positive about the future of data in banking and downright giddy about the credit environment. He even went out of his way to be nice to Mike Mayo. Overall, Dimon's demeanor was almost unsettlingly unguarded and freewheeling.
Let's get the Mayo thing out of the way; For his first Dimon question as a free agent, Mike asked what the JPM brand represented and is Jamie had ever considered separating the retail bank from its siamese investment bank twin.
Jamie's answer was a perfect melange of kindness and teasing aimed directly at a guy who just got laid off from CLSA, "You're a brand too, Mike. You don't need CLSA." Jamie went on to tell a 'charming' story about the time Mayo wrote a long and terrible report on BankOne back when Jamie was running it. Jamie admitted that BankOne was kind of shitty and that he was happy he sold it to JPMorgan. It was a real "Get a room, you two" moment that also made you go "Wait, Jamie thought BankOne was shitty while he was CEO of BankOne?"
Another thing that Jamie seemed quite 'thirsty' for these days is corporate tax reform. He repeated his belief that corporate tax cuts benefit everyday Americans most dramatically and that the current environment is not really hurting JPM at all. He also opined on how Trump might approach it by saying "What I know about tax: one fundamental issue is whether Obamacare comes first. That will delay tax. The timetable is very important, the best case, if Obamacare comes first, tax will take 12 months." But he made no bones that he wants tax reform, and he wants it bad.
Dimon also got a few moments to chat about his newest crush, big data. And like any guy over 50, Jamie used an example of consumer data that got creepy quickly. Positing the notion that JPM can track customer banking habits and use them to study risk, Jamie said this...out loud, "If you get paid on a Friday and you go to a casino, are you a better or worse credit? Because we know."
He was sooooo loose, you guys.
It was weird.
And that untethered quality made itself most evident when Jamie began to really dig into his take on the current credit environment. This is literally what he said about current credit conditions: "Credit has never been better, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever" and the sound of his hand hitting the podium could be heard clearly with the dropping of every ever.
Jamie also dropped some Queens-style dimes of truth like pointing out the absurdity of modern regulation thusly: "It takes a year and three licenses to become a barber in NYC." He complained that there are too many annoying small banks ("Too many of these pesky players") and intimated that American taxpayers didn't really pay for the bailout ("That taxpayers paid for failing banks during the crisis, it isn't true. Bank investors paid.")
Overall, it was Jamie unplugged. A Dimon for our era of Trumpian Bargain.
It was fun, it was unhinged and it was entertaining as hell. But we can't say that it wasn't also rather unsettling.