Managing Director, Andy Guzzetti breaks down the numbers of JPMorgan’s $2 billion loss
JPMorgan lost $2 billion dollars on its London trading desk when a derivative hedge blew up. CEO Jamie Dimon had to announce the loss before the trade was unwound, this could cause the loss to go as high as $4 billion. The pro “increase regulations” crowd, has jumped on with both feet. Instead of allowing the markets to punish JPM and its poor handling of risk, the political positioning has begun. Congressional investigation, DOJ probe into possible criminal charges and the public outcry for additional regulations all because a publicly traded U.S. company lost money. We must understand that JPM lost money on this trading desk, approx. $2 billion, the company did not lose money for the 1st quarter and will report approx. $15 billion of profit for the year. $2 billion is a lot of money but JPM is a well run company that can handle that loss and still make money for its shareholders. A very important point to make is that JPMorgan will not need a government bailout. It’s just a loss they do not want to take and one that shows they did not handle risk very well.POLITICS
The index JPMorgan lost money on was the CDX.NA.IG.9 Index. This index is made up of 125 company’s credit default swaps. This is a very intricate investment vehicle that is used to hedge bank positions. CEO, Jamie Dimon has been an advocate of getting rid of regulations and fighting with the administration about the DODD FRANK LAW and its Volcker Rule. The Volcker Rule is a rule that would prohibit banks from using their own capital to make bets on the direction of the market. This proposed rule states that commercial banks cannot proprietary trade (they can’t trade to make money, they can trade to hedge. In other words, to hedge some of the risk in their other investments).
The 2008 financial crisis began with investment banks and insurance companies, not commercial banks. In 2008 there were hundreds of billions of mortgage related securities which were rated AAA by rating agencies that should have rated them as junk. To equate JPM loss to the 2008 crisis is crazy. Proprietary trading in the banking industry did not lead to the 2008 crisis and has never led to any other financial crisis. Let the markets punish banks for poor risk management. Additional regulation is not needed.