J.P. Morgan is in talks with the S.E.C. to settle a probe about charges they sold clients their own proprietary funds rather than cheaper ones from competitors. The story is being reported in today’s WSJ
As part of the companies response to this latest disaster, they are focusing on how to train their employees how to respond if any customers inquire about potential conflicts that may exist when brokers receive kickbacks due to fund sales. The article states, “The bank also has included in regular training sessions a greater focus on role playing in which employees are trained what to say if clients ask about fee disclosures or conflicts of interest, some of the people said.”
Wow! This opens some possibilities for creativity. In my own personal opinion, the bank should tell the truth. They want to make as much money for themselves and their shareholders at the expense of their customers. There, didn’t that feel good?
Maybe they could set the new standard for the industry and possibly even gather new assets. It would be a gamble that even their own “London Whale” would not make. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
Here goes nothing. This would be my idea of some great and honest responses to these customer inquiries.
1. “We need to pay our CEO/Chairman Jamie Dimon’s compensation. 20 million dollars is a lot of dough and if we don’t overcharge you how do you expect him to keep making 300x more than the average worker in this country?”
2.” Look buybacks and dividends are very expensive. Where are we supposed to get the money from to pay our shareholders you dumb Muppet.”
3. “How the hell I am I supposed to win that trip to Cancun if you don’t buy this Class A fund??”
4. “We are going to get in pretty big trouble again and we need to sell you this stuff to make sure we have enough money when we have to pay up.”
5.” Crony capitalism is pretty expensive. We need to higher plenty of lobbyists to make sure that crazy fiduciary rule that would protect you from this nonsense will never pass.”
JPM’s salespeople can now wheel and deal with a clear conscious. If customers continued to buy these products after hearing these answers, more power to them.
Maybe this would be a liberating experience for their salespeople. Finally being able to tell the truth and alleviating the thoughts in the back of their minds that they are headed for Dante’s ninth level of hell.
If nothing else, it would be pretty entertaining to watch the reactions of their clients.
While this has less of a chance of happening than Jamie Dimon appearing on Dancing With The Stars with Senator Elizabeth Warren as his partner, it sure would differentiate JPM from the pack.