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Why Does Jamie Dimon Suffer for Just $23 Million?


JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon's $23 million 2011 pay package may look like a lot to you and me, but don't be surprised if he feels poor.

Take a look at his 38-page shareholder letter, published on the bank's website Wednesday, and you can see the guy is suffering.

He laments "global economic uncertainty," and "traumatic events," such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the "fiasco" over the U.S. debt ceiling, revolutions in the Middle East and the European debt crisis.

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"In the face of these tragic events and unfortunate setbacks, the frustration with -- and hostility toward -- our industry continues," he gripes.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, the proxy statement for publicly-traded hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management was also released, revealing that CEO Dan Och took home $11 million in 2011.

While Och's pay package is less than half that of Dimon's and well below the $26 million he earned in 2010, both of these numbers are mere rounding errors for Och, who actually earned closer to $170 million, according to Forbes.

That's because Och-Ziff's publicly-traded vehicle is just a side job. It shouldn't even count as a part time gig. His real money comes from the institutions that invest in his hedge funds. While three out of four of those lost money in 2011, none lost as much as 5%. By contrast, the poor slobs in the publicly-traded vehicle lost nearly 45%.

Still, those losers of 45% of their money, aren't coming to Och with all kinds of wacky shareholder proposals. The only matters being put to a vote are ratification of the board of directors and the auditor.

By contrast, Dimon and his fellow managers have to put up with a host of embarrassing proposals from pesky holders of tiny amount of shares. These include everything from nuns asking them to do a better job of modifying home loans to a guy asking them to make sure their investments are "genocide-free." (i.e. no PetroChina, which does business in Sudan.)

These grumpy shareholders, by the way, only lost 21% of their money in 2011, so they really should be happy compared to those at Och-Ziff. Give 'em an inch, and they take a mile.

Perhaps needless to say, Dan Och does not go on wringing his hands for 38 pages over the state of the world. It's just six pages, one of which is taken up by charts, while pull-quotes beef up the other five pages considerably.

Here's a sample sentence. "Despite rapidly changing and difficult market conditions in 2011, we were able to capitalize on a broad range of opportunities in multiple geographies without excessive exposure in any one area."

See? No muss, no fuss.

Dear Jamie, why do you suffer? Start a hedge fund. Kick back, enjoy life.

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