JPMorgan Chase & Co.
) is soon expected to start resolving probes related to its
'London Whale' trading debacle. The company will likely pay a
penalty in the range of $700-$800 million and also plead guilty.
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JPMorgan's 'London Whale' settlement will be with the U.S.
regulators - the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the
Federal Reserve and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency -
and the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority. However, chances of
the overseer of derivatives market, Commodities Futures Trading
Commission's (CFTC) inclusion in the settlement are less.
The CFTC is probing whether JPMorgan's trading desk manipulated a
credit default index - IG9 - at the time of trading credit
derivatives, which led to trading losses of approximately $6.2
The settlement will end the probe being conducted by the U.S. and
the U.K. regulators. JPMorgan is currently being investigated on
whether it disclosed the correct amount of losses in the 'London
Whale' derivative trades to investors and regulators. The
company's risk control program is being questioned as well.
Further, the admission of wrongdoing will likely open up legal
ways for investors to seek compensation for a fall in JPMorgan's
share prices following the 'London Whale' trading fiasco. This is
expected to add more legal headwinds for the company.
Nevertheless, management has tried to make amends by
acknowledging its responsibility for the actions as well as by
restating the first-quarter 2012 results.
Despite JPMorgan's plans to end the probes, the Department of
Justice (DOJ) is going ahead with its criminal case implicating
two of the company's former traders of conspiracy, fraud and
making false SEC filings related to the 'London Whale' trading
losses. Another former employee - Bruno Iksil - is cooperating
with the investigators and has not been charged criminally.
The resolution of the 'London Whale' debacle will remove a major
legal headwind for JPMorgan. However, the company, along with
many other major banks such as
Bank of America Corporation
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
) continues to face various mortgage related investigations and
Recently, at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference,
JPMorgan stated that it would incur additional legal cost of more
than $1.5 billion in the third quarter. Notably, at the end of
second-quarter 2013, the company increased its anticipated legal
losses (exceeding its existing litigation reserves) to $6.8
billion from $6.0 billion in the prior quarter.
Currently, JPMorgan carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).