The precariousness of JP Morgan Chase
The New York tourist sitting next to me with the map of London spread out on his lap asked where he could find the London Whale. Seriously. Unlike the London Eye, I told him, the London Whale was a human being, albeit a metaphorical landmark.
The London-based JP Morgan Chase trader’s nickname derived from his large positions in the credit market, which in the summer of 2012 resulted in the bank declaring a $5.8bn loss. It subsequently faced major fines from both the UK and US regulators for, among other things, its lax supervision and for not “adequately updating” its audit committee on the findings of an internal review, in the words of the Securities and Investment Board (SEC). The bank agreed to around $20 billion in legal settlements in 2013, almost equal to a typical year’s profit, for a range of misdemeanours.