Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jim Cramer on Clawbacks

This morning Jim Cramer said: "why don't they just clawback the money.  These are rich people.  They should just clawback $ 100 million.  They can afford it."

Cramer was referring to the swirling media attention to Wells Fargo's woes.  The argument is that senior executives should give back some of their compensation, since things have gone awry.

Perhaps Cramer should apply the "clawback" theory to himself.  He's certainly rich.  How have his predictions and recommendations worked out?  It is well documented that Cramer's predictions and recommendations are essentially worthless.  Cramer famously argued that long term investors should sell everything in late 2008.  That advice would have cost investors billions of dollars.  Why doesn't Cramer return his own compensation as a soothsayer on CNBC?

This entire media frenzy is an example of meddling in matters that don't concern you.  To the extent shareholders of Wells Fargo have been injured, the shareholders and the board should take whatever action they deem appropriate.  Cramer should butt out.

What goes on at Wells Fargo, unless criminality is involved, is nobody's business but Wells Fargo shareholders.  It is none of Cramer's business.  At the very least, Cramer should use the stick that he wields on himself first, Wells Fargo later.

This kind of media nonsense makes businesses look inward, hire fewer people, take fewer risks.  Economies stagnate when companies spend all their time contemplating their navel, which is what Cramer is advocating.

We need companies to take more risk, not less risk.  Hopefully, bad things will be fairly rare, but they will happen and do not need Congress or the media to fan the flames.  Wells Fargo and its shareholders should be free to pursue their economic interests as they see them.  If shareholders want to remove Stumpf...fine.  But, they don't need Congress's or Cramer's advice.  Congress and Cramer have a far worse track record than Wells Fargo.

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