Hats Off to JPMorgan Chase

In the wake of the trading losses generated by the “London Whale” and its Chief Investment Officer, JPMorgan Chase has taken a lot of criticism.

However, one thing that cannot be criticized is the way the company faces the music. On their much anticipated second quarter earnings call on July 13th, 2012, in which the company was going to give an update on the trading losses and discuss potential compensation claw backs, Jamie Dimon and his team held court for more than two hours. They took on all comers and didn’t duck a single question.

They gave everyone on the call a chance to ask as many questions as they wanted. They didn’t put a time limit on the call and didn’t limit the number of follow-up questions that an analyst or investor could ask. The only thing they did was ask the participants to be respectful of others and drop off and get back in queue if they had a long list of questions to ask.

They even went so far as to invite analysts to be present in the room where they held their conference call, so most of the Q&A session was conducted in-person rather than over the phone (although everyone on the phone and on the webcast was able to hear the questions that were asked by the analysts in the room).

How many times have we seen CEOs take the opposite approach and go to great lengths to insulate themselves from tough questioning?

If Jamie Dimon emerges from this episode relatively unscathed, a big reason will have been his willingness to stand front and center, deal directly with the issues, and demonstrate to analysts and shareholders that he respects them and owes them answers.