Hours after JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to buy First Republic, attendees at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California started the day huddled under a covered pavilion with rain leaking in.

In the Wilshire Garden area, lined with lush greenery and AstroTurf, the droplets pattered off the tented covering overhead and onto the stage as guests spooned up breakfast parfaits and began to listen to the day’s programming. At one of the early panels, Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser praised the "solid structure” of the financial system, and said First Republic’s sale removed a major source of uncertainty.

Among the bankers and dealmakers mingling on the sidelines, the reactions as the day unfolded were more mixed.