NY Times: JPMorgan Was Warned About Lax Risk Controls

Monday, 04 Jun 2012 12:49 PM

By Anthony Sokol

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The CtW Investment Group, a small group of shareholder advocates, warned top JPMorgan Chase executives over a year ago that the bank’s risk controls needed to be improved, according to The New York Times.

CtW Investment Group also cautioned officials that the bank had fallen behind the risk-management practices of its peers. JPMorgan officials dismissed the warnings.

JPMorgan officials are now expected to strengthen the board panel that oversees risks after the bank disclosed a $2 billion trading loss in May and the bank’s market value dropped by over $25 billion.

Two former traders say the chief risk office was not focused on the huge credit market bets the chief investment officer made that eventually went bad and did not review large trades by the chief investment office or properly set position limits.

JPMorgan officials insist there was no structural flaw in risk management or in setting position limits but critics maintain that after the bank navigated the financial crisis in 2008, its risk officers became complacent about the danger posed by increasingly aggressive bets and focused on other problems, including the JPMorgan’s mortgage business, which was losing money.

JPMorgan Chase is still expected to report a substantial profit for the second quarter, but the $2 billion trading loss is an embarrassing stumble for the nation’s biggest financial institution.

The Business Times reported that to people familiar with the situation said the JPMorgan Chase unit that lost more than $2 billion through a failed hedging strategy had looser risk controls than the rest of the bank.

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