JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $920 million for trading losses that shook the financial world in 2012.
JPMorgan’s acknowledged failure of oversight in the $6 billion trading loss is a first for a major company since the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reversed its longstanding practice of allowing firms to pay fines without accepting fault.
The admission, made on Thursday as part of a broad settlement with US and UK regulators, could leave the bank vulnerable to millions of dollars in lawsuits.
“The floodgates are opening,” said Anthony Sabino, an attorney and business professor at St. John’s University in New York. “This is the kind of thing plaintiffs’ lawyers salivate over.”
Regulators said JPMorgan’s weak oversight allowed traders in its London office to assign inflated values to transactions and cover up huge losses as they ballooned. Two of the traders are facing criminal charges of falsifying records to hide the losses.
Combined, the bank will pay one of the largest fines ever levied against a financial institution - $200 million to the SEC, $200 million to the US Federal Reserve, $300 million to the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and $220 million to the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
As part of the SEC settlement, JPMorgan acknowledged that it violated securities laws in failing to keep watch over traders.
The US Justice Department is still investigating the bank for possible criminal violations. And there could be more action to come from the SEC.
George Canellos, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said the agency continues to investigate individuals at the firm.
“JPMorgan’s senior management broke a cardinal rule of corporate governance - inform your board of directors of matters that call into question the truth of what the company is disclosing to investors,” said Mr. Canellos.
“We have accepted responsibility and acknowledged our mistakes from the start, and we have learned from them and worked to fix them,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement.