Jamie Dimon Sweats Little, Says Nothing
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase(JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon stuck largely to his script in his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, admitting lapses in the bank's risk management but highlighting that the incident was isolated, passionately defending his stand on bank regulations and trumpeting the "widest, deepest and best capital markets" of the United States.
Bottomline, shareholders did not walk away with any new information from this testimony.
Granted, the tone of the session was decidedly more aggressive tone than that of the Senate Banking Committee last week and there were points when the normally self-assured CEO looked a little flustered and weary.
Dimon faced some pointed questions on the bank's disclosure of changes to its risk model, after SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro said the regulator was investigating whether JPMorgan misled investors by failing to disclose a change in the Value at Risk model the firm had adopted for its CIO unit.
The change in the model understated the amount of money at risk by half, the bank said when it disclosed the loss in early May.
Dimon has since defended the bank's change to the models, saying that JPMorgan employs hundreds of trading models and makes changes all the time with the intention of improving the way the firm captures risk.
He, however, admitted that the recent change to the CIO VaR model, implemented in January, may have allowed the unit to take more risk than it should have and may have "aggravated" the trading losses. But the changes were not the cause of the problem, he said.
Once the bank determined that the new model was not capturing risk accurately, it switched back to the old model and then disclosed what it believed was actually at risk. "We disclosed what we knew when we knew it," Dimon told the House Financial Services Committee.
Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina noted that Dimon himself had been critical of the bank's risk controls, calling the trading strategy poorly managed, poorly reviewed and poorly executed.
Yet, he pointed out, the CEO on Feb.29 filed a certification required by law that the bank had adequate risk controls in place and that management's assessment of the firm determined there were no material weaknesses in its internal controls or financial reporting as of Dec. 31, 2011.
"I know you are entitled to rely on your subordinates in making that certification, but was that certification correct?," Miller asked Dimon.
"It was to my knowledge at the time," Dimon replied.