JPMorgan to opt for ‘carrots and sticks’ approach to vaccine, says CEO Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan will not make a Covid-19 vaccination mandatory but will take a “carrots and sticks” approach to vaccines and the return to the office, the US bank’s chief executive said.

“It’s hard to make it mandatory — and there are laws about that. I think what we would like to do is have carrots and sticks,” Jamie Dimon told Bloomberg on 1 March.

“We want people to take it, I think it’s a far better thing. You certainly can’t make it mandatory until it’s fully accessible, so that question can’t even be answered before June. But I do think we may see some companies do it. I could see an airline doing it or a hotel company doing it. I could see some saying if the folks aren’t vaccinated, I’m not going in. So there will be pressure.”

Dimon’s comments come as the vaccine rollout in the US and the UK is gaining momentum, with 76 million doses and 21 million doses administered respectively. In the UK, the government has announced a four-stage roadmap to lift lockdown, with the aim of having most of the economy reopened by the summer.

READJefferies backtracks on staff jab plan after memo demanded ‘verification of vaccination’

“It’s very important [to come back to work],” Dimon said. “I do think there will be parts of the world, where a certain amount of people work from home permanently, certain sales, certain ops that you can track the productivity.

“I think there will be a large portion who permanently work in the office, think of our branches, cash management, probably most of the trading floors etc. There will be some hybrids, where you spend two weeks at home, two weeks at the office.”

“There are huge weaknesses to the Zoom world. Most of us learn by an apprenticeship system by seeing mistakes, going to trips, how to handle a client, how to handle a problem. It’s hard to inculcate culture and character when you have the Zoom world… Spontaneous combustion — it goes away. It’s hard to manage, hard to be very critical when you have 15 people on the screen.

“It’s very hard to build and develop a deep relationship on the Zoom world,” Dimon added. “There will be more Zooming, but people like me will travel just as much as they did in the past.”

Dimon’s interview also touched upon the recent GameStop-related market turbulence, where an army of traders on Reddit increased the heavily shorted video game retailer’s share price, causing major hedge funds to take huge losses. For Dimon, “this is not a new phenomenon”.

“In every bull market this has happened in my life,” Dimon said when asked if the system is rigged in light of recent events. “I do believe people should learn to invest their money but they should do their homework.” He also said that his dad taught him to read a company’s balance sheet at the age of 13.

READGameStop’s month of mayhem — Everything you need to know about Reddit, hedge funds and Robinhood

On Brexit, the American CEO said that, although London could remain a financial centre, it wouldn’t be the financial centre of Europe, with other cities potentially taking the crown further down the line.

“If I were a Brit, I would be really careful about how you’re going to compete in a new world,” Dimon said, adding that he had not been in favour of a hard Brexit. “In terms of financial services, there was no deal done, so you really don’t know.”

“Over time parts that were done in London will be done elsewhere,” said Dimon. “So London will always be a financial centre but it won’t be the financial centre of Europe… you’re going to get other financial centres such as Paris and Frankfurt, Dublin, maybe Amsterdam.”

“You’ve seen it already in certain products, that doesn’t mean it won’t extend to other products… I do think there will be political and regulatory pressure to move some of those things.”

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