The financial sector seems to be alive and well under Donald Trump’s new administration. For all his talk of demonizing Wall Street, Trump seems to have taken a shine to banks and their executives. And even though President Trump has a rocky relationship with China, one of his closest banks just did something no bank has ever done before – receive a license to underwrite corporate bonds in China’s interbank bond market. Will other banks be far behind?
Is the JPMorgan Chase’s Relationship With the President the Reason for the Historic License?
JPMorgan Chase is living large. The bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has a particularly close relationship with our new president, and was in fact Trump’s first pick for Treasury Secretary. The bank is up about 24% since the election. Last week, President Trump signed an executive order to loosen regulatory restrictions on banks and lenders by targeting the Dodd-Frank act, essentially giving JPMorgan the opportunity to double its lending, which is already near an all time high. Now, the largest U.S. lender just got entry into China’s $6.4 trillion bond market – the third largest in the world. Is it all connected? Is Dimon’s relationship with Trump to credit for its good fortune?
Yes and no.
Dimon is a close advisor and friend to Trump, meaning that for all his promises to clean up Wall Street, Trump’s actions are all currently focused to help the financial sector. But though Dimon can advise Trump, it’s ultimately up to the bank itself to chart its own course. And JPMorgan has done a stellar job of that.
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The bank was granted a business license in September of 2016 to operate a fully owned fund management business in China thanks to the Chinese Central Bank’s decision to loosen entry restrictions. That license led to its approval to underwrite corporate debt in the China market, which is JPMorgan’s bread and butter. The bank earned about half of its investment banking fees from debt-underwriting last year, meaning that it now has the ability to double its revenue with one new market.
Watch this news clip from CNBC where JPMorgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon talks about President Trump’s reforms:
Thanks to China loosening entry restrictions, JPMorgan won’t be the only U.S. headquartered bank in town for long. But between that time and today, the lender should see ample profits and develop some competitive barriers to entry for other banks. Between the China license and the repeal of Dodd-Frank, expect shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) to rise UP.
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