JPMorgan banker’s exceptionally intense lockdown

The lockdown intensity stories keep on coming: from the client who shut himself in his children’s bedroom and slept in their bunkbed during a four day remote roadshow, to ex-Barclays ‘Big Dog’ Roger Jenkins, who got stuck alone in a hotel the U.K. after finally being acquitted on fraud charges. And now, to Daniel Pinto, the number two at JPMorgan.

Bloomberg tells the tale of Pinto’s recent existence, which was driven by three quirks of fate: firstly that he left his home in London for New York in early March; secondly that his time in New York coincided with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s ‘acute aortic dissection’; and thirdly, that this also coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

What was supposed to be a regular NY business trip for Pinto – albeit one with working days that ended at 2am – suddenly became a fully-fledged nightmare. 

Pinto, an Argentinian who has long been mooted as Jamie Dimon’s number two, found himself managing JPMorgan through the crisis alongside Gordon Smith, the head of JPMorgan’s consumer business. Markets were mad, staff needed to be moved home, clients were drawing hard on credit lines. Pinto was alone in his hotel, alone in the office and alone in the gym. “It was tough,” he admits: his wife and children were still there, on Zoom, as were his colleagues, but Pinto was physically isolated and co-running JPM miles away from home.

This seemingly went on for a month – or at least that was the amount of time Pinto was stuck in New York. Dimon was discharged from hospital on March 12th and checked-in regularly as soon as he was able, but he didn’t get back to work until April 2. Pinto and Smith were unexpectedly in charge throughout.

Naturally, it could have been worse. As a CEO in waiting at JPMorgan, Pinto presumably never ran out of toilet roll. New York is actually his home from home – in a normal month he spends 60% of his time there. And he wasn’t completely bereft of physical human company: he still had his driver, plus a receptionist and security guard at the deserted JPMorgan office. 

Even so, it still sounds a bit bleak – especially if (as isn’t clear), Pinto was ejected from his fancy hotel when the lockdown started and made to stay in a serviced-apartment, as happened to JPMorgan’s traders at its recovery site in the U.K.’s Basingstoke. 

In fact, various banking CEOs seem to have had a challenging time during the lockdown. James Gorman at Morgan Stanley had the virus – but didn’t let it be known until he’d recovered. David Solomon at Goldman Sachs spent his time working at Goldman’s 200 West office with 60 other people until instead of 10,000 and declared the experience to be “very weird.”  Ultimately, it might have been a good idea for all the lonely CEOs to meet for a socially isolated walk in Central Park; they could at least have shared tips and offered guidance on where to access remaining stocks of hand sanitizer.

Sarah Butcher –


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