Jamie Dimon to London: Happy New Year! You May Not Get Our HQ After All


JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is not pleased with Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling. (Translation for Americans: the chancellor of the exchequer is akin to our treasury secretary, except that he is the second-most powerful person in British government, and is afforded his own home at No. 11 Downing Street, right next door to the prime minister.) Dimon is angry because Darling has adopted a 50 percent tax on banker bonuses, which Dimon argues would unfairly target his workers, since his bank pays British taxes and yet did not receive a government bailout there. Other banks, upon hearing the news, have threatened to leave London, but JPMorgan recently laid out over $370 million to purchase land in Canary Wharf to build a $2.4 billion European headquarters as a gesture of the bank’s commitment to the city. (Translation for Americans: Canary Wharf is the sort-of-newish financial complex in London. It is to the old business center the Square Mile what the World Financial Center is to Wall Street. Roughly.)

So Dimon called Chancellor Darling yesterday and, according to a source, threatened that if a change weren’t made to the bonus tax, he’d forgo the multi-billion-dollar commitment — despite the hefty outlay Morgan already made — and nix the headquarters plan, thereby joining with other banks in punching a gaping hole in London’s foundation as an aspiring world financial hub. (Translation for Brits: One does not mess with Jamie Dimon.)

JPMorgan’s Dimon Called Darling to Reject Bonus Tax [Business Week]