THE boss of Bournemouth’s biggest private sector employer, JP Morgan, has said the bank will need “significantly” less office space in future.

Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of the US banking giant, said it might need only 60 seats per 100 employees.

But he also pointed to “serious weaknesses” in working remotely – and predicted that only 10 per cent of staff might work entirely from home.

In his annual letter to shareholders, Mr Dimon also said Brexit “cannot possibly be a positive” for Britain’s economy in the next few years and that some bank functions were likely to move abroad.

Mr Dimon said the Covid crisis had accelerated trends towards remote working.

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“Generally speaking, we envision a model that will find many employees working in a location full time,” he said.

But he added that some would adopt a “hybrid” way of working between home and the office. “And a small percentage of employees, maybe 10 per cent, will possibly be working full time from home for very specific roles,” he added.

He said the bank would move to a more “open seating arrangement”. “As a result, for every 100 employees, we may need seats for only 60 on average. This will significantly reduce our need for real estate,” he said.

But he said there were “serious weaknesses” to communicating digitally. Remote work was more successful when people already knew each other and had a large volume of work to do, he said.

Most people learned through an apprenticeship model which was “almost impossible to replicate” in Zoom meetings, he said, while heavy reliance on online meetings slowed down decision making.

“And remote work virtually eliminates spontaneous learning and creativity because you don’t run into people at the coffee machine, talk with clients in unplanned scenarios, or travel to meet with customers and employees for feedback on your products and services,” he added.

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He said JP Morgan – which has around 4,000 staff at Bournemouth’s Chaseside – still intended to build a new headquarters in New York City for 12,000-14,000 staff.

On the subject of Brexit, Mr Dimon said “many issues” still had to be negotiated, including the future of financial services, and that the European Union had the “upper hand” in those negotiations.

In the next few years, this “cannot possibly be a positive” for the UK’s economic output, he said, but “the effect after that will be completely based upon whether the United Kingdom has a comprehensive and well-executed strategic plan that is acceptable to Europe”.

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He said it was clear that “over time, European politicians and regulators will make many understandable demands to move functions into European jurisdictions”.

“We may reach a tipping point many years out when it may make sense to move all functions that service Europe out of the United Kingdom and into continental Europe. But London still has the opportunity to adapt and reinvent itself, particularly as the digital landscape continues to revolutionise financial services,” he said.

JP Morgan will have moved several hundred UK jobs to the continent by the end of the year, but has also hired around 400 people for its new Chase digital bank.

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Mr Dimon’s 66-page letter to shareholders reported record revenue of 122.9billion US dollars in 2020, earning net income of 29.1bn US dollars.

Among his concerns was that many services traditionally offered by banks were being provided by financial technology (fintech) companies – or “shadow banks” – which were not governed by the same regulatory system.

“We believe that many of these new competitors have done a terrific job in easing customers’ pain points and making digital platforms extremely simple to use. But growth in shadow banking has also partially been made possible because rules and regulations imposed upon banks are not necessarily imposed upon these nonbanks,” he said.

He said this meant risks had “just got moved to a less regulated environment”.