Archive for December, 2009

JP Morgan London headquarters plan in doubt

December 30, 2009

» JP Morgan may drop HQ plans

JP Morgan have, it is alleged, threatened not to build their very nice new building because of the bonus tax. Several possibilities:

The facts are intriguingly vague. JP Morgan have not actually threatened not to build their shiny new building, but the possibility has been raised by “a senior J.P. Morgan executive“. The building is supposed to cost £1.5 billion versus a bonus tax which is supposed to raise almost a third of that.

However, there is no detail to say that the alleged executive knows anything about it, was sober at the time of speaking or even exists. On the other hand, perhaps its Jamie Dimon, the head of JPM himself, applying more pressure on the government. Also, it’s really just a new building – valuable for builders, but not really a threat to withdraw jobs, and it’s the jobs issue (or rather, London’s precious status as a financial centre) which the government has heard most about. The following quote (from another JPM executive) is also worthy of note:

There were no threats made on the call and we have made no decisions on people or buildings based on the super-tax announcement.

All we really know is that the head of JPM had a chat with the chancellor and said he was not entirely happy about the bonus tax, which is not really surprising. If he had praised it, that would have been a more solid news story.

It’s a hard life

December 18, 2009

Well no, no it’s not. Bankers who feel sorry for themselves are a bit like politicians who make moral judgements or newspaper columnists who complain about people being overpaid: hypocrisy crystallised.

That said, it does make you wonder how much of the fervent politician hatred that we’ve experienced since the expenses furore is driven by hard facts, and how much is just, well, our love of outrage. I’d continue with the same theme about newspaper columnists, but this area of potential injustice appears surprisingly under-reported.

Facts, alas, are in short supply. I could pretend I’m trying to bring facts to the debate – but really, it’s just my opinion. But at least I don’t confuse the two.