Tempest In A Towering Inferno: JPM's Head CIO Trader: "Things Like This, It's Like The Twin Towers Falling Down"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/15/2013 13:14 -0400
On April 13, 2012 Jamie Dimon described the situation at the CIO as massively overblown and said it was just "a tempest in a teapot." A few days later, the head CIO trader, Javier Martin-Artajo, when speaking to the former JPM Chief Investment Officer, Ina Drew, had a less sanguine description: "and, and, you know, things like this, it's like the twin towers falling down." Let's agree to disagree and just compromise on "tempest in a towering inferno." But that's not the point of this post. The point is in the same transcript we learn that it was none other than Ina Drew who told Artejo that "it would be helpful, if appropriate, to get, to start getting a little bit of that mark back" and instructed the Spaniard to go ahead and "tweak" the daily P&L on the CIO portfolio by "an extra basis point." Nothing like your supervisor telling you to fudge marks just to demonstrate that the "curve is starting to trend."
On October 2, 2012, news hit that Barry Zubrow, JPM's Chief Risk Officer from November 2007 to January 2012 (in other words, key supervisor of the risk onboarded by the CIO, aka JPM's prop trading desk, for the biggest part of its existence), and then briefly head of corporate and regulatory affairs, would retire from JPMorgan. As Bloomberg reported then, "Now is the right time in my life" to retire, Zubrow, 59, wrote to colleagues in a note today. "We have learned from the mistakes of our recent trading losses." We wonder, if the time was "right" for Zubrow's retirement because the firm realized that the Senate was in possession of the following email sent from Zubrow on April 12, a day before the first fateful Q1 earnings preview conference call in which Jamie Dimon, responding to media reports of Iksil's blow up, said the whole situation was a "tempest in a teapot", in which the Chief Risk Officer essentially told the firm's executives: Braunstein and Dimon, to lie to the public and shareholders?
For those curious about the timeline of the world's biggest prop-desk blow up, here it is day by day and, pardon the pun, blow by blow.
"Since my departure I have learned of the deceptive conduct by members of the London team, and I was, and remain, deeply disappointed and saddened to learn of such conduct and the extent to which the London team let me, and the Company, down."
In the marked absence of JPM CEO Jamie Dimon who will sadly not be present to explain to Senate why he is richer than (most) of the people present while wearing his signature presidential cufflinks, Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin will be the main highlight in today's Senate hearing "JPMorgan Chase Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks and Abuses" which as reported previously found that JPM "lied" and "deceived" regulators. As the Seante's report concludes, "The bank’s initial claims that its risk managers and regulators were fully informed and engaged, and that the SCP was invested in long-term, risk-reducing hedges allowed by the Volcker Rule, were fictions irreconcilable with the bank’s obligation to provide material information to its investors in an accurate manner." Today, those fictions will attempt to be reconciled, primarily with the help of the "voluntarily retired" former CIO Ina Drew, as well as JPM's vice Chairman Doug Braunstein and IB Co-CEO Michael Cavanagh. Will anything change as a result of today's hearing? Will JPM be broken down? Will the DOJ begin an inquiry into JPM? Of course not. But it makes for a good 3 hours of theater.
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"Equity prices in the US and Europe have been hovering at multi-year highs. To the extent that this reflects powerful policy easing, equity markets may have lost some of its ability to reflect economic trends in exchange for an important role in the policy fight to support spending." This is a statement from a Bank of America report overnight in which the bailed out bank confirms what has been said here since the launch of QE1 - there is no "market", there is no economic growth discounting mechanism, there is merely a monetary policy vehicle. To those, therefore, who can "forecast" what this vehicle does based on the whims of a few good central planners, we congratulate them. Because, explicitly, there is no actual forecasting involved. The only question is how long does the "career trade", in which everyone must be herded into the same trades or else risk loss of a bonus or job, go on for before mean reversion finally strikes. One thing that is clear is that since news is market positive, irrelevant of whether it is good or bad, virtually everything that has happened overnight, or will happen today, does not matter, and all stock watchers have to look forward to is another low volume grind higher, as has been the case for the past two weeks.
Excuse me for asking, but what in the name of Jesus H. Christ is wrong with us? Oh, I forgot. If you're rich, you can do anything you want. If you're poor, you have the be the apotheosis of rectitude. And talk about swift justice! This incident took place not even two weeks ago! And yet Blankfein, a man who torture is too good for, smirks and leers his way to mega-riches.
Curious what according to Jamie Dimon is just a "tempest in a teapot", or, alternatively, why Mr. Dimon is richer than pretty much all of you, here is the full 307 page report that explains everything, including all the events that transpired at the JPM CIO office, all the trades that led up to the "monstrous" Whale portfolio, leading to an epic prop trade failure, coupled with countless lies and misrepresentations to regulators, to investors, to the public, and to politicians, many of which under oath. Oh yes, free Jamie Dimon!
"Too Big To Regulate" JP Morgan "Lied" And "Deceived" Regulators, Investors And Public, Senate FindsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/14/2013 17:24 -0400
Moments ago, ahead of tomorrow's 9:30 am Senate hearing on JP Morgan's 2012 attempt to corner the IG9 market through its London-based CIO office using depositor cash which as everyone now knows went horribly wrong, titled "JPMorgan Chase Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks and Abuses,” the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has released its comprehensive 300 pages review of the London Whale fiasco. The report, in a nutshell, finds that both Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan lied and misled investors, regulators and Congress, that it forced its traders to hide growing losses, that it hid trades banned by the Volcker rule (just as we first said in April 2012 in "Why JPM's "Chief Investment Office" Is The World's Largest Prop Trading Desk: Fact And Fiction") and that JP Morgan may, by extension, be "too big to manage" or "too big to regulate" as Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin summarized.
The Biggest Welfare Queens of All ...
Bhutan's guiding national policy is Gross Domestic Happiness, as a reference point for Net Value. Here in the U.S., we give lip-service to all these values, but ask yourself: where do we spend most of our time? Serving our masters in the State/market economy, creating Net Worth for ourselves or someone else. Yes, we all still need to earn a livelihood, but imagine a society constructed around generating Net Value and Gross Domestic Happiness instead of Net Worth. The power structure would collapse because none of these activities or accomplishments generate enough profits or taxes to keep the Machine operational. A brush with mortality has a way of stripping away the superficial and the false. How many ghosts are we living with while our real lives have been abandoned as insufficiently ambitious and net-worthy?
No, American Banks DON'T Need to Be Big to Compete with Bigger Foreign Rivals
There's a reason why Wall Street is so "beloved" by 99% of the people, and that reason is today best summarized by Jamie Dimon's 'witty' retort to Mike Mayo, perhaps the most hated banking analyst, who asked the JPM CEO a simple question - why affluent customers would not pick UBS over JPM due to a mismatch in capital ratios, to which Dimon's response is even simpler: "that's why I'm richer than you." No logic, no rationale: all about the bottom line, which to Jamie at least is all that matters. As for Mr. Dimon's pending application to purchase a Micronesian private island, we would surmise that the wealth mismatch is far more due to the too big fail banking system which means every time Mr. Dimon uses hundreds of billions in excess deposits to corner the IG9 market or to pursue any other uber-levered venture which blows up in his face even as the firm's highly accurate VaR.xls spreadsheet outputs the RAND() function, the government, also known as JPM's OpCo 1, will rapidly rush to bail him, and his riches, out.