Last week JPMorgan found itself embroiled in another scandal when it became apparent that the bank had hired the daughter of the Chinese prime minister on a contract worth $1.8m over two years. The bank already stood accused of nepotism in China and last week’s revelation reinforced the notion that it matters who your parents are if you want to work in banking (particularly if you happen to be in China).
It’s worth bearing in mind, therefore, that Dimon himself benefited from nepotism when he got his first job in banking.
As this press release, from Dimon’s wedding in 1983, reflects, the young Jamie Dimon got his first job at Shearson/ American Express as secretary to the chairman of the executive committee. At that time, Dimon’s father was a senior vice president at the company.
According to this 2009 article from Business Insider, Dimon’s father was instrumental in getting his son hired. He brought Jamie in to work with him at Shearson Hamill & Co in the 1970s. Shearson Hamill & Co was acquired by Hayden Stone, a firm run by Sandy Weill.
Sensing an opportunity, Jamie reportedly wrote a thesis about the merger of the two companies, which his father showed to Weill. Weill offered Jamie a summer job and – subsequently – a full-time position. Jamie’s career took off from there.
Dimon’s early career was distinctly different to that of Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn at Goldman Sachs. While Dimon seems to have pulled strings to get himself started, both Blankfein and Cohn came from non-banking families and had to find jobs based on their own merit.