May 18 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. shareholders rejected a proposal to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer currently held by Jamie Dimon, who gave investors an upbeat outlook on the U.S. economy.
The resolution to separate the positions failed to pass with about 34 percent of the vote, according to a preliminary tally given to investors at today’s annual meeting in New York. All members of the board standing for election received at least 89 percent of the vote, said General Counsel Stephen Cutler. More than a dozen homeowners with Chase mortgages and consumer advocates, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson appealed to Dimon to do more for borrowers seeking loan modifications.
Dimon, 54, who has led the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets and its board for more than four years, told shareholders “there’s a chance down the road” that the lender would reinstate a stock-buyback program. When asked whether the firm would consider repurchasing shares, he said “not quite yet.” He said he hoped to reinstate the quarterly dividend, which was cut to 5 cents in 2009, at 30 percent to 40 percent of earnings.
“The economy is growing as we speak,” he said. “We think it’s better to wait when things are stable so we can pay a dividend you can count on.” It was the company’s first public meeting since posting a 55 percent increase in net income for the first quarter to $3.33 billion.
Votes on Proposals
Shareholders also approved a resolution for an advisory vote on executive compensation by more than 95 percent. They backed by 54 percent a measure allowing investors to take actions outside of the public-meeting process if they have the written consent of a majority of shares outstanding.
A proposal allowing anyone with at least 10 percent of outstanding common stock to call shareholder meetings lost while attracting 44 percent of the vote. Another proposal seeking more detailed derivatives disclosures and stricter collateral requirements won about 34 percent of the vote.
“We already do substantially some of the things you’re talking about, not all of them, but some of them,” Dimon told Sister Barbara Aires, who spoke on behalf of the groups of nuns and priests who submitted the derivatives proposal. Aires said in an interview that the same proposal received similar support from shareholders at Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp.
About two dozen borrowers came to the meeting and appealed for help on their home loans. Dimon referred them to mortgage specialists sitting outside to answer questions about specific foreclosure cases and pending modifications.
“This is a government program, so it’s not always up to JPMorgan” in deciding who qualifies and who doesn’t for the Home Affordable Modification Program, Dimon said.
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