Hedge Funds Helping, Not Harpooning, 'London Whale' Now

There are only a few funds in the credit markets who are big enough to help manage a position the size of JPM's CIO office and, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, BlueMountain (one of the biggest) has helped JPM unwind their position by entering the market to take positions that it then sold on to the bank. This agency role is helping the bank to cover its tracks (and reducing the effectiveness and transparency of any and all DTCC data in the course of it), which argues perhaps once again for the exchange trading of these instruments (but that is another topic). While we would be sure that Blue Mountain took a wider than market bid-offer out of the middle of the brokerage move, it is nevertheless clearly a backdoor bailout of the bank's position by what is likely one of its major counterparties anyway (and why not). The activity pick-up this week makes perfect sense (as we noted yesterday) given the single-name CDS roll (and index options expiration) and as Bloomberg's Childs and Harrington note "If you were to need to move a large position, there should be greater liquidity around those days than other days, all else being equal," but as we have noted it remains unclear as to whether the original tail-risk position has been taken down at all (if so then doesn't that make JPM more risky implicitly?) or just the hedge of the hedge that got so out of hand thanks to Iksil's excess.


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