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JPMorgan’s Executive Suite Churn: Why It’s Probably Good News, Not Bad

We’re not much into shining up New York banks here at YCharts, but coverage of recent executive departures at JPMorgan (JPM) may have readers thinking the executive-suite churn is a sign of problems – and we don’t think that’s the case.

Whether Jamie Dimon’s preening makes you a fan or a foe, it’s hard to deny that the man s risk-averse. While Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) were so loaded down with mortgage lending woes and other problems in the financial crisis, JPMorgan was relatively unscathed, as we see here in a net income chart.

JPM Net Income TTM Chart

JPM Net Income TTM data by YCharts

JPMorgan’s image took a dent when the London trading snafu led to a multi-billion loss. And since then, top executives have been departing, as covered by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Churn means trouble right? After all, if the right people weren’t in senior positions, something’s amiss. But there’s another view, and one we regard as more plausible: Dimon, burned by the London trading disaster, is worried about where else trouble might lurk at the bank, and is making executive-level adjustments in an effort to best try to prevent such problems. Good for him, and likely good for JPMorgan shareholders, because the best competitive advantage in banking is not screwing up.

Which is one big reason why risk-averse Wells Fargo (WFC) and US Bancorp (USB) beat the stuffing out of bigger banks loaded down with investment banking operations.

JPM Return on Assets Chart

JPM Return on Assets data by YCharts

JPMorgan will have a hard time catching up to Wells Fargo and US Bancorp – and it may suffer another unexpected loss; banking is full of surprises – but Dimon’s executive-suite shuffling is likely a good sign for those worried about risk at the big bank.

Jeff Bailey is an editor for the YCharts Pro Investor Service which includes professional stock charts, stock ratings and portfolio strategies.

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