News Column

JPMorgan Harpooned by 'Whale' Fines

September 19, 2013

Nick Goodway, London Evening Standard

JPMorgan Chase

Sept. 19--JPMorgan today received the second-biggest fine ever imposed by the City regulator.

The investment bank was hit with four fines totalling $900 million (pounds sterling 559.8 million), including pounds sterling 125 million by the Financial Conduct Authority, over its attempts to conceal losses of $6.2 billion made by its "London Whale" trader last year.

This gives JPMorgan the doubtful distinction of appearing twice in the top five fines imposed by the City watchdog. Three years ago it was fined pounds sterling 33.3 million for failing to protect clients' money.

The fines imposed by the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve and the FCA come as a major embarrassment to Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan, who initially descirbed the losses made in its London office as a "tempest in a teapot".

Only this week Dimon told staff in a memo that the bank was making an "unprecedented effort" to simplify its business and beef up controls and that it had taken on an extra 3000 people to do so.

Dimon's pay was cut in half last year to $11.5 million because of the Whale losses.

Regulators today said JPMorgan had failed to provide accurate and timely information about the trading losses made by Bruno Iskil, the London Whale.

The FCA also said that a London-based executive of the bank had not acted in good faith when it was investigating the losses.

Two of Iskil's colleagues, his immediate boss Javier Martin-Artajo and junior trader Julien Grout, were indicted by a US court this week on five criminal charges including conspiracy and securities fraud. Iskil has co-operated with regulators and prosecutors and has escaped criminal charges.

The largest of today's fines, $300 million, came from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a body within the US Treasury which regulates banks.

It said that JPMorgan had failed to keep it informed about its huge, loss-making trading bets.

The other three regulators imposed fines of $200 million each.

JPMorgan is still being investigated over the London Whale losses by the US Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a number of state attorneys.

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(c)2013 London Evening Standard

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Source: (c)2013 London Evening Standard