I would venture to say that banking is not as complex as making airplanes, discovering effective pharmaceuticals, building safe cars, developing innovative electronics and, of course, understanding nuclear physics. There are huge benefits to the complexity involved in those other industries – but there also are sometimes negative consequences.
The question for society is: Are we, in total, better off or worse off because of some of the great products and services that come with complexity? The answer in our opinion is a resounding yes, though you should always strive to minimize the risks. But we want to acknowledge that the difference with banks, as pointed out by critics, is that if and when they make mistakes, they can severely harm the economy. This concern is legitimate...
Let’s call a spade a spade – regardless of your political leanings, if you’re an investor in bank stocks, you want Jamie Dimon as your CEO.
His new letter to shareholders is a good read, even if you disagree with his relentless defense of TBTF banking. He concedes some points to critics but makes reasonable arguments justifying the benefits of scale in the banking industry. Hit the link above to read the whole thing.