Whatever challenges the economy brings, JPMorgan will be managed according to plan, chief executive officer Jamie Dimon said Thursday.

“We’ve always run the company consistently, investing and doing stuff, through storms. We don’t like pull in and pull out, and go up and go down, and go into markets, out of markets through storms,” Dimon said during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s second quarter earnings.

“We invest, we grow, we expand, we manage through the storm,” he added.

Dimon was responding to a query from Wells Fargo Securities banking analyst Mike Mayo, who referenced Dimon’s warning to investors, in May, to prepare for an economic hurricane because of a confluence of factors that included rising interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“You said a hurricane is on the horizon, but today you’re holding firm with your $77 billion expense guide for 2022,” Mayo said. “I mean, it’s like you’re acting like there’s sunny skies ahead — you’re out buying kayaks, surfboards, wave runners, you know, just before the storm. So, is it tough times or not?”

Mayo was referring to JPMorgan’s 2022 expense forecast, which has been kept unchanged at $77 billion.

There’s a difference between the present and future, Dimon explained, noting that currently, “consumers are in good shape, they’re spending money” and businesses are doing well also.

It’s the future that’s unclear, according to Dimon.

“I'm simply saying there's a range of potential outcomes, from a soft landing to a hard landing, driven by how much rates go up,” Dimon said.

It’s also driven by the volatility of the markets, as well as the war in Ukraine and the prices of oil, gas and food, he noted.

Still, “it’s not going to change how we run the company,” Dimon said.

In a statement accompanying JPMorgan's second quarter earnings release, Dimon noted the negatives that are weighing on the U.S. economy.

“[G]eopolitical tension, high inflation, waning consumer confidence, the uncertainty about how high rates have to go and the never-before-seen quantitative tightening and their effects on global liquidity, combined with the war in Ukraine and its harmful effect on global energy and food prices are very likely to have negative consequences on the global economy sometime down the road," he said in the statement.

"We are prepared for whatever happens and will continue to serve clients even in the toughest of times," he added.

Dealing with volatility also provides opportunities, Dimon said during the call, noting he’s focused on long-term gross domestic product growth over the next 15 to 20 years, as opposed to the next 18 months.

Technology and Recruiting

When it comes to training, technology and recruiting specifically, Dimon said he’s not “stop-starting.”

“That’s crazy. We don’t do that. We’ve never done that,” Dimon said. “We didn’t do it in ’08 and ’09.”

Dimon said JPMorgan has “spent a lot of money” on artificial intelligence technology, citing $100 million in spending for “building certain risk and fraud systems” related to process payments on the consumer side of the business. “That’s a huge benefit. I don’t think you’d want us to stop doing that because there’s a recession,” he said.

JPMorgan is investing in technology to keep up with its competitors, Dimon said during JPMorgan’s Investor Day in May, without giving an amount or timeframe. The company’s tech spend as a percent of revenues is roughly 10%, he said at the time.

“AI, digital, cloud, cyber — they are unbelievably powerful, and they must be done, and a little bit of that is a race,” Dimon said in May. “If you don’t do your risk and fraud better, then you’ll be worse off than the other person.”

For JPMorgan Wealth Management, this includes an investment in Wealth Plan, which the unit’s chief executive officer, Kristin Lemkau, described on Linkedin in May as a digital money coach available for free to all Chase digital clients.

In April last year, Dimon said JPMorgan is “completely open-minded” about any potential acquisition target in the financial technology space.

Assets under management in the asset and wealth management segment stood at $2.74 trillion at the end of June, down from $2.96 trillion at the end of March and 8% lower year-over-year, according to the company's second-quarter earnings report.

Total client assets, which also include custody, brokerage, administration and deposits, were $3.80 trillion at the end of June, down from $4.12 trillion at the end of March and 6% lower year-over-year.

The asset and wealth management unit had 2,866 global private bank client advisors at the end of June, up from 2,798 at the end of March and from 2,435 at the end of June 2021.

JPMorgan Wealth Management had 4,890 client advisors, part of the company’s consumer and community banking, in the second quarter, up from 4,816 in the first quarter and from 4,725 in the same period a year ago. In March, the company said it was hiring advisors across all experience levels for JPMorgan Advisors, branch-based advisors and remote personal advisors.

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