JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon has walked back his forecast of an economic “hurricane” somewhat, saying the megabank continues to hire despite layoffs in the sector.
In an interview Tuesday at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, Dimon also unleashed some fresh barbs against cryptocurrencies and criticized the crypto-trading platform FTX, which filed for bankruptcy late last year.
The outspoken Dimon had warned against what he termed an economic hurricane in a widely quoted interview in June.
Dimon clarified his remarks on Tuesday in an interview with anchor Maria Bartiromo on the show Mornings with Maria on Fox Businss.
“I shouldn’t have ever used the word ‘hurricane,’” Dimon said in the interview. “What I said was there were storm clouds which may mitigate. People said they didn’t think it was a big deal, and I said no, those storm clouds could be a hurricane. And so I’m saying this stuff, I’m talking about … it could be nothing [or] it could be bad, and I think we should understand, I’m not predicting one or the other.”
Dimon said those early storm clouds have already hit, with inflation, quantitative tightening by central banks and the stock market down 20%. He recommended being prepared for uncertain times ahead.
While rival megabanks bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +0.98% , Morgan Stanley MS, +0.97% and Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, +0.20% have been cutting jobs or signaling layoffs, Dimon said JPMorgan JPM, +0.57% continues to hire.
“So far we’re still in the hiring mode,” Dimon said. “We have a lot of growth plans. You know, I tend not to stop growing because you have a recession. Even in a recession, we’re opening in new countries we’re talking about. And we think those things are very good for shareholders over the long run.”
Asked about lessons from the blowup of FTX, Dimon said transactions based on the blockchain remain solid but described the busted cryptocurrency brokerage as a “decentralized Ponzi scheme, because people [were] just hyping it and hyping it.”
“A lot of people got hurt, you know, and these were retirees, grandmothers, you know, lower-income [people. It] was a shame,” Dimon said. “And it should have been immediately putting some kind of regulatory framework so that there’s some investor protection.”
Asked about the market for initial public offerings as well as mergers, Dimon said the environment appears to be stabilizing.
“There are hundreds of IPOs ready to go. That may very well open this year,” he said. “And so if I were — folks who want to go public, I would be prepared to do that. Debt markets have been wide open, other than certain types of low-grade, high-yield and the stock market, you know, bouncing around, but it’s still open for people.”
He reiterated comments about the strength of U.S. consumer and company balance sheets, which he said remain in good shape. He also said he has no plans to pursue public office.
Dimon’s comments come just days ahead of JPMorgan’s fourth-quarter earnings update amid a choppy economic environment.