‘You have to face your owners’

Annual general meetings are a mainstay on the corporate calendar, giving retail investors an opportunity to directly address management teams and boards of directors. But as far as one of the world’s most popular bankers is concerned, they’re a “complete waste of time.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon recently caused a stir when he made it clear he’s got little patience for annual meetings.

“Shareholder meetings . . . have become a complete waste of time, let’s call it what it is,” Dimon said at the bank’s latest annual investor day three weeks ago, according to the Financial Times.

Charles Elson, director at the University of Delaware’s John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance, said he completely disagrees with Dimon’s comments, because the annual meetings serve as an “accountability mechanism” for management, who are obligated to answer the concerns of the people that own the business.

“Like it or not, you have to face your owners and be available to them to answer questions,” Elson in a phone conversation with BNN.

“If someone invests with you, it’s their money and you have an obligation to report to them, certainly on an annual basis. For two hours a year if you have to deal with political issues which you rather not deal with, that’s a small price to pay in my opinion,” he added.

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