New London Whale review points to JPMorgan shortcomings


You might have thought that Jamie Dimon's resounding victory at the annual shareholder meeting put an end to the London Whale episode. You might have thought that all the ink that could be spilled over the matter has already dried. But you would be wrong.

Bloomberg Markets magazine offers a new look at the unfortunate series of events that saw a group of traders run amuck, sticking JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) with massive losses and calling into question the leadership of top executives.

The magazine's portrait, based in part on interviews with traders and current and former executives, "offer evidence of a widening spiral of panic as the losses became known beyond a small circle of traders and the extent of the damage reached top management, including Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon."

More specifically, the record shows that "Dimon presided over a company whose traders amassed growing positions in complex derivatives and whose executives offered rosy forecasts, withheld information from regulators and ignored risk limits that were breached 330 times in the first four months of 2012."

There may well be another big shoe to drop in this saga. The FBI, Justice Department and SEC are still scrutinizing the evidence. One possibility is that the bank or specific individuals could be charged with some form of market manipulation. Others suggest that the bank may be cited for gross failure to supervise or making misleading disclosures. Prosecutors are under pressure to act.

But no matter what happens, it appears that Dimon has survived. Unless the investigators come up with new damning information, he has been tried in the court of shareholder opinion, and he emerged with his titles intact -- still the reigning chairman and CEO (and president).

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