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Jamie Dimon ignores his own advice about workers and shareholders

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Jamie Dimon ignores his own advice about workers and shareholders

Jamie Dimon wants US companies to focus on their employees, communities and customers in addition to their stockholders — unless you’re talking about Dimon’s company, that is.

JPMorgan Chase’s billionaire boss and board have rejected a call to turn the megabank into a so-called “public benefit corporation” that embraces “stakeholder capitalism,” which claims that large public companies can create long-term value for shareholders by paying and training employees and focusing on the communities they serve rather than their stock prices.

That’s despite the fact that the Business Roundtable — a powerful group of CEOs chaired by Dimon — had publicly endorsed the idea in 2019 in what it called its “statement on the Purpose of a Corporation,” according to a Tuesday report from Reuters. At the time, Dimon said that the new policy “will help to set a new standard for corporate leadership.”

But after pressure to follow through on its pledge from activist investor John Harrington, JPMorgan’s board — which is also chaired by Dimon — ruled against converting to a stakeholder focus, citing a legal review that found putting shareholders second would violate the bank’s fiduciary duty.

“What they said was meaningless,” Harrington told Reuters on Tuesday.

“Serving the interests of all stakeholders – not just shareholders – is essential to having an economy that creates opportunity for everyone and how we do business” a JPMorgan spokesman said in a statement to The Post, before citing the $30 billion commitment that the bank made to close the racial wealth gap in October.

“Our company is only as strong as the customers, employees and communities we serve, and our commitment to this is reflected in our investments to advance racial equity and create an inclusive economic recovery.”

Harrington also told the outlet that he plans to keep up pressure on other banks run by CEOs who signed the Roundtable statement and has already sent letters to Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Bank of America told Harrington in a Feb. 5 letter that it plans to hold a vote on his proposal at its annual meeting.

But it also stated its board will recommend investors vote against the idea for reasons including that it already operates in a way that balances shareholder and stakeholder interests, and because “The public benefit corporation model is new, largely untested, and is therefore inappropriate for a company of our size and complexity.”

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment further.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo noted the bank previously studied and rejected the idea.

In January 2020, Wells Fargo’s board said it could already consider stakeholder interests “without the significant uncertainties, costs, and distractions” that conversion would require.

With Post wires

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JPMorgan looks to sublet NYC office space: report

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JPMorgan looks to sublet NYC office space: report

JPMorgan Chase is looking to sublet big blocks of office space in Manhattan, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The bank is looking to sublet just under 700,000 square feet at 4 New York Plaza in the Financial District and more than 100,000 square feet at 5 Manhattan West in the Hudson Yards area, the report said.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic-led lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, fewer people have been going to office, which has prompted companies to reassess the need for real estate.

“It is too early to comment on specifics as we continue to learn and adapt to this current situation and how it impacts our commercial real estate needs. We are committed to New York and are planning for the next 50 years with our new headquarters here,” a spokesperson for the bank said.

Real estate broker Jones Lang LaSalle is marketing JPMorgan’s space, the report said.

In October, JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said JPMorgan would press ahead with its plans to build a large headquarters in New York that is scheduled to open in 2024.

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Jack Ma no longer China’s richest man after Beijing scrutiny

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Jack Ma no longer China's richest man after Beijing scrutiny

Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost the title of China’s richest man, a list published on Tuesday showed, as his peers prospered while his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators.

Ma and his family had held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in fourth place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang, the latest list showed.

His fall out of the top three comes “after China’s regulators reined in Ant Group and Alibaba on antitrust issues,” the Hurun report said.

Ma’s recent woes were triggered by an Oct. 24 speech in which he blasted China’s regulatory system, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the fintech giant’s public listing.

Regulators have since tightened antitrust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector, with Alibaba taking much of the heat; the market regulator launched an official antitrust probe into Alibaba in December.

Chinese regulators also began to tighten their grip on the fintech sector and have asked Ant to fold some of its businesses into a financial holding company to be regulated like traditional financial firms.

Ma, who is not known for shying away from the limelight, then disappeared from the public eye for about three months, triggering frenzied speculation about his whereabouts. He re-emerged in January with a 50-second video appearance.

China’s current richest man, Zhong, made his first appearance at the top spot with a fortune of 550 billion yuan ($85 billion), largely thanks to the share price performances of Nongfu Spring and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which he also controls.

Tencent’s Ma saw his wealth swell 70 percent over the year to 480 billion while Pinduoduo’s Huang’s fortune grew 283 percent to 450 billion yuan, the list said. In comparison, the wealth of Ma and his family grew 22 percent, to 360 billion yuan.

Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, broke into the top five rankings among Chinese billionaires in Hurun’s Global Rich List for the first time, with an estimated personal wealth of $54 billion.

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Controversial NYC tower isn’t too tall, appeals court says

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Controversial NYC tower isn't too tall, appeals court says

The controversial, “too-tall” new apartment tower at 200 Amsterdam Ave. won’t have to take a haircut after all — because it isn’t really too tall.

A state appeals court Tuesday unanimously upheld the right of developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan to keep the nearly-completed building at its 52-story height. The Appellate Division slapped down a lower-court judge’s decision that they must take down 20 stories because the structure supposedly violated zoning rules.

The unanimous Appellate Division ruling makes it all but impossible for the plaintiffs, a coalition of West Side activists, to take the case to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest judicial body.

Developers and landlords had been holding their breath awaiting the decision, as an upheld order to tear down part of the building could have impacted many other properties either in construction or already standing. Even the MetLife Building at 200 Park Ave. could have faced retroactive legal challenges as it relied on the same zoning-law interpretation used at 200 Amsterdam.

State Supreme Court judge Franc Perry ruled in February 2020 that the developers had used “deceptive practices” and “violated city regulations” in putting up the tower at Amsterdam Avenue and West 71st Street, even though it  had valid permits from the Department of Buildings since 2017.

The city gambled that Perry would be overturned and allowed construction on the tower to continue.

The city Law Department joined SJP and Mitsui Fudosan in an appeal filed last fall. They argued that the project conformed with highly technical rules dating back to the 1970s that allowed combining whole and partial tax lots in order to create a bigger “footprint” for construction.

The appellate judges said that while the zoning rules were “ambiguous,” the city’s Bureau of Standards and Appeals “rationally” interpreted them. The lower court “should have deferred” to the BSA, the judges ruled.

SJP chairman and CEO Steven J. Pozycki called the ruling “an unequivocal affirmation that 200 Amsterdam’s permit was lawfully issued … We thank the city for their support.”

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