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Apr 09, 2019

JPMorgan Chase boss ‘worried’ about success of China in AI and fintech

Annual letter to shareholders reveals warning not to be complacent toward China threat

Jamie Dimon, the chief of banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase, admits to being ‘worried’ about the progress China has made in artificial intelligence (AI) and fintech.

In his annual letter to shareholders, the bank boss says he recently dispatched one of his senior teams to China to study what advances are being achieved in the country with AI and fintech.

‘It’s hard not to be both impressed and a little worried about the progress China has made – it made our management team even more motivated to move quickly,’ he says. ‘Suffice it to say, no matter what our current performance is, we cannot rest on our laurels.’

He notes that benchmarking against competitor performance is a critical aspect of the group’s attempts to keep up with the shifting trends in the financial services industry. 

Dimon says the bank compares itself with competitors at a very meticulous level, covering more than 50 sub-lines of business and hundreds of products, incorporating not just financial data but also operational data, customer satisfaction and other measures.

‘We never lose sight of the fact that we have an extraordinary number of strong competitors – we cannot be complacent,’ he writes, pointing in turn to the innovation of thousands of fintech start-ups that have emerged around the world and the opportunities they create for disruption. 

‘We have acknowledged that companies like Square and PayPal have done things that we could have done but did not,’ he says. ‘They looked at clients’ problems, improved straight-through processing, added data and analytics to products, and moved quickly.’

In a very open outlook he says competition is everywhere and it is easy for big, successful, firms to settle into a false sense of security. 

‘All companies are subject to inertia, insipid bureaucracy and other flaws, which must be eradicated,’ he writes. ‘If a company isn’t staying on edge, maintaining a fire in its belly and pushing forward, it will eventually fail.’