JPMorgan Chase paid its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, $31.5m for 2020, the same sum as the previous year, the US bank disclosed on Thursday.
In a regulatory filing accompanying the figures, JPMorgan said that “amid the unprecedented health and economic consequences of Covid-19” the bank reported record revenue and maintained a strong balance sheet, even while putting aside $12bn for credit losses.
JPMorgan shares fell 8 per cent in 2020, despite a strong rally towards the end of the year, as banks’ lending profits were hit hard by the falling interest rates and high loan-loss provisions that followed the outbreak of the pandemic.
The KBW bank index lost 5.5 per cent on the year, and JPMorgan’s closest rival, Bank of America, lost 7 per cent.
JPMorgan, like several other Wall Street banks, had warned staff that it would not be a bumper bonus season, despite strong performance from trading and investment banking divisions driven by last year’s high volatility and falling rates.
Banks are struggling to balance paying for performance with the perception that, as ordinary people are struggling during the pandemic, bankers are getting richer still.
When it reported strong fourth-quarter results earlier this month, Mr Dimon urged caution, saying: “It’s not like we’re bragging, we’re not.”
JPMorgan is the first large US bank to report the compensation of its chief executive. Mr Dimon, 64, is consistently one of the highest-paid US bank bosses.
As in 2019, his 2020 package consisted of $1.5m in cash base pay, a $5m cash bonus and $25m in “performance share units” that vest over several years and vary in value with the price of JPMorgan shares.
Mr Dimon’s year was also marked by a serious health crisis. In March he was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery when he suffered an acute aortic dissection, a potentially fatal condition triggered by a tear in the inner layer of a large blood vessel branching off the heart. He returned to full-time work a month later.