Jamie Dimon: “Significant Opportunity to Invest in Greek Assets”

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Jamie Dimon: “Significant Opportunity to Invest in Greek Assets”

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan, was scheduled to visit Athens in July before being diagnosed with throat cancer, that is normally treatable. Mr. Dimon provided responses to Greek newspaper Ta Nea on a variety of topics, including the U.S. economy, the global outlook, the Eurozone, and Greece. He expressed his desire to visit Greece in the near future. Below are excerpts of his comments that relate to Greece.


When did Greece show up in your radar? At which point during the past four years did you begin to believe Greece might be a good opportunity for investors? Why? What would be your case for Greece to potential investors?

We have all been following Greece from abroad during the last few years. The Greek sovereign crisis opened a new chapter in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis and posed significant risks to financial stability, particularly in Europe. At JPMorgan, we are not fair weather friends. We have been in Greece for 50 years and we are going to be in Greece in the future. We helped the country raise money and we helped the banks in Greece during difficult times in order to help the country recover. We always believed that the European and the Greek people would find their way and manage through the crisis return to stability and prepare for growth. The environment today includes a more efficient infrastructure and economic and reform progress, which provide a strong backdrop for sustained growth and opportunities in Greece.

JP Morgan chase is investing in Greece and supported Greece΄s rebound in the markets last April. Would you participate again in long terms bonds issue? Are other American investors interested in Greece?

We have been delighted to be member of the syndicate that brought Greece back to the market last April. The new Greek government bond was one of the fastest returns to the capital markets by a sovereign that has been through such a deep fiscal crisis, and it demonstrates the extensive repair work that has been undertaken in the country. American investors have moved quickly to follow the opportunities in Greece, since they are familiar with recovery stories in the emerging markets and in the US. Investors from all over the world continue to seek opportunities in Greece and JPMorgan remains very actively engaged in these investment flows.

How did you decide to include Greece in your European tour?

JPMorgan has been present in Europe for almost 150 years. During this period, we have been supporting the countries of Europe and our European clients in both good and bad times. JPMorgan has had a presence in Greece for over 50 years and we are here for the long term. My visit reconfirms our support to Greece and our Greek clients in the new era of opportunity that the future should bring.

What would you advise Greece to do in order to rebrand its name as an attractive place for investors?

Providing a stable environment for investors to make thoughtful decisions and deploy capital without red tape and bureaucracy is very important. The markets believe there is significant opportunity to invest in Greek assets. But Greek assets still have to compete with other global opportunities, therefore keeping the rules clear, transparent and straightforward will help encourage further foreign investment.

What have you learned from the last financial crisis?

As I have previously discussed a multitude of issues caused, or contributed to, the last financial crisis: structural issues, such as a critical lack of liquidity in some of our country’s money market funds and in short-term financing markets; high leverage throughout the system; unregulated shadow banking; poor mortgage underwriting; huge trade imbalances, among other factors.
A great number of the regulatory changes adopted after the crisis were essential, including higher capital and liquidity standards and Resolution Authority also was necessary to give regulators both the legal authority and the capability to manage and unwind large financial firms. These measures and many others will help to ensure a strong global financial system for everyone in the future.
What I also saw during the crisis and in its aftermath that made me very proud was how the employees at JPMorgan stepped up to help clients and communities around the world. 
JPMorgan Chase was a port of safety in the last storm – a source of strength, not weakness, for the global economy. We tried to do things to help – and sometimes took bold actions to do it. And I believe that no matter what the future holds, we will be a port of safety in the next storm.

(Source: Ta Nea)

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