JPMorgan paying $920M to settle London Whale case with U.S., UK regulators


WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase & Co. is paying $920 million in penalties and admitting wrongdoing over a $6 billion trading loss last year that tarnished the bank’s reputation.

Regulators said today that the largest U.S. bank failed to properly supervise traders in its London operation, allowing them to assign inflated values to trades and cover up losses as they ballooned. Two of the traders are facing criminal charges of falsifying records to hide the losses.

The combined amount JPMorgan is paying the three U.S. regulators and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority adds up to one of the largest fines ever levied against a financial institution.

The Securities and Trade Commission fined the bank $200 million and required it to admit wrongdoing. The U.S. Federal Reserve Board imposed a $200 million penalty, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency set a $300 million fine. The British regulator fined the company $220 million.

The announcement of the fines came a few days after the five-year anniversary of the onset of the financial crisis. The huge loss at JPMorgan raised concern about continued risk-taking by Wall Street banks and questions of whether the financial industry had learned the lessons of the meltdown.

As part of the settlement, the SEC required a rare admission of wrongdoing on the part of JPMorgan, acknowledging that it violated the securities laws in failing to keep watch over the traders. That was a departure from the SEC’s longstanding practice of allowing most companies and individuals agreeing to deals to neither admit nor deny wrongdoing.