JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon has admitted to being worried about the progress China has made in artificial intelligence and fintech.
In his annual letter to shareholders, the big bank boss says he recently sent one of the bank's senior teams to China to study what’s being achieved there with AI and fintech.
"It's hard not to be both impressed and a little worried about the progress China has made - it made our management team even more motivated to move quickly," he says. "Suffice it to say, no matter what our current performance is, we cannot rest on our laurels."
Benchmarking against competitor performance is a critical aspect of the bank's attempts to keep abreast of shifting trends in the financial services industry. Dimon says the bank analyses and compares itself with competitors at a very detailed level, covering more than 50 sub-lines of business and hundreds of products, incorporating not just financial data but also operational data, customer satisfaction and other measures.
"We never lose sight of the fact that we have an extraordinary number of strong competitors - we cannot be complacent," he writes, pointing to the innovation efforts of the thousands of fintech startups that have sprung up around the world and the opportunities they create for disruption.
"We have acknowledged that companies like Square and PayPal have done things that we could have done but did not," he says. "They looked at clients’ problems, improved straight through processing, added data and analytics to products, and moved quickly."
Competition is everywhere, he says, and it's easy for big successful firms to be lulled into a false sense of security.
"Having worked at a number of companies not nearly as successful as ours, we fought every day to even try to get to the major leagues," he writes. "All companies are subject to inertia, insipid bureaucracy and other flaws, which must be eradicated. If a company isn’t staying on edge, maintaining a fire in its belly and pushing forward, it will eventually fail."