JPMorgan investors should oust most of board, Glass Lewis says

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, should oust most of its board and split Jamie Dimon’s dual roles as chairman and chief executive officer, shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. said.

Stockholders should replace six of the board’s 11 directors at the bank’s annual meeting May 21 and approve a proposal to name an independent chairman, Glass Lewis said today in a report.

Calls for Dimon, 57, to relinquish the chairmanship have mounted since last May, when New York-based JPMorgan disclosed risk-control lapses in its chief investment office on credit- derivative bets that fueled a $6.2 billion trading loss and sparked regulatory probes. Institutional Shareholder Services on May 3 also urged a vote in favor of splitting Dimon’s roles and removing three directors.

Investigations by the company and lawmakers “have revealed questionable risk-management practices at both the senior management and board levels,” Glass Lewis wrote in the report. “Shareholders should be concerned that company management was allowed to build a massive exposure to credit derivatives,” switch risk models and undervalue its positions without triggering a review by the board.

Glass Lewis said shareholders should vote against James A. Bell, former chief financial officer at Boeing Co.; Crandall C. Bowles, chairman of Springs Industries Inc.; David M. Cote, CEO of Honeywell International Inc.; James S. Crown, president of Henry Crown & Co.; Ellen V. Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History; and Laban P. Jackson, CEO of Clear Creek Properties Inc.

Risk Policy

Bell, Bowles and Jackson are members of the board’s audit committee. Cote, Crown and Futter serve on the risk-policy committee, which is responsible for oversight of risk-exposure management. The ISS recommendation said those three risk panelists should be voted out.

“The risk-policy committee was likely too willing to trust senior management’s risk oversight and did not have meaningful review processes in place to cover instances of risk limit breaches or significant deviations in portfolio valuation,” Glass Lewis wrote in the report.

Both Glass Lewis and ISS endorsed a proposal in 2012 to split Dimon’s jobs and name an independent chairman, which was rejected by shareholders with 40% of the vote.

“With the two leading proxy advisory firms recommending investors vote against key directors, it is clear that the status quo can no longer continue,” said Dieter Waizenegger, executive director of the CtW Investment Group, which provides advice to union pension funds managing $250 billion in assets, including shares of JPMorgan.

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