Investment bankers at J.P. Morgan are back to flying the friendly skies.
Amid debate as to whether or not business travel would eventually pick back up to pre-Covid levels, it appears as though the largest lender in the U.S. is doing its part to help steady the air travel industry. The company already has about 30 to 40 investment bankers traveling daily, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
In-person meetings help banks win lucrative mandates and show their interest to potential clients.
Jim Casey, J.P. Morgan's co-head of global investment banking, said: “Business travel has picked up as people become more comfortable. You’re not winning new business without in-person connectivity.”
CEO Jamie Dimon said last week: “There are a bunch of clients who gave business to somebody else because the bankers from the other guys visited and ours didn’t. OK, well, that’s a lesson. It’s got to work for the clients -- it’s not about whether it works for me. And I have to compete.”
Recall, about a week ago we noted that business travel likely wouldn't improve back to pre-Covid levels as investment banks mulled the idea of more dealingmaking via video chat for convenience and in order to save money.
Nordea Bank Chief Executive Officer Frank Vang-Jensen said last week that there "will definitely be much less traveling."
His sentiments were echoed by the likes of other major investment banks HSBC and Standard Chartered. Andy Halford of Standard Chartered said: "We see a step change down in the level of travel once we normalize out of this."
HSBC Holdings Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson also said the same this week, noting that the bank will increase reliance on "video technology and having people go on fewer, longer trips when they do travel."
And for banks, less travel is actually a good thing. HSBC saw its travel costs down $300 million in 2020, which could amount to annual savings of $150 million if the bank keeps reining in travel.
But, recall, J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon said at the time that he hadn't quite given up on air travel: "If I'm the gung-ho person, I want to get the business, taking that trip may be much different than saying I'll meet you in a Zoom. I think people like me will travel as much and Zoom more."