JPMorgan Chase has disclosed $2 billion in lossesfrom a trading group’s credit investments, causing the bank’s share price to plummet in after-hours trading.
Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan, blamed “errors, sloppiness and bad judgment” for the loss, which stemmed from a hedging strategy that backfired.
The trading in that hedge roiled markets a month ago, when rumors started circulating of a JPMorgan trader in London whose bets were so big that he was nicknamed “the London Whale” and “Voldemort,” after the Harry Potter villain.
The losses are expected to take a toll on the bank’s larger earnings, with the corporate group expected to lose $800 million in the second quarter, the company said today in its quarterly securities filings. JPMorgan had previously estimated that it would report a net income of roughly $200 million. The final report will depend on if the company can recover, though Dimon said things could “easily get worse.”
Given Dimon’s resistance to the ban and new regulations, “he’s got a lot of egg on his face right now,” said Craig Pirrong, a finance professor at the University of Houston. “Any chance they had of getting a relative loosening of Volcker rule, anything of that nature, that’s out the window.”
“It’s classic Wall Street hubris, which we’ve seen so many times before,” said Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund who now teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “What’s particularly ironic here is that Jamie presents himself, and is believed by others to be, the king of risk management.”
In an emailed correspondence, Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and co-author of the Merkley-Levin language establishing the Volcker Rule, issued the following statement Thursday in reaction to news that JP Morgan had suffered a $2 billion trading loss:
“The enormous loss JP Morgan announced today is just the latest evidence that what banks call ‘hedges’ are often risky bets that so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks have no business making. Today’s announcement is a stark reminder of the need for regulators to establish tough, effective standards to implement the Merkley-Levin language to protect taxpayers from having to cover such high-risk bets.”