The Financial Times – JPMorgan unit has $100bn of risky bonds
The unit at the centre of JPMorgan Chase’s $2bn trading loss has built up positions totalling more than $100bn in asset-backed securities and structured products – the complex, risky bonds at the centre of the financial crisis in 2008. These holdings are in addition to those in credit derivatives which led to the losses and have mired the bank in regulatory investigations and criticism. The unit, the chief investment office (CIO), has been the biggest buyer of European mortgage-backed bonds and other complex debt securities such as collateralised loan obligations in all markets for three years, more than a dozen senior traders and credit experts have told the Financial Times. The bank has said its derivative activities were intended primarily to help balance risks on its overall balance sheet, but the revelation that it has built up other large, risky positions is likely to raise further questions about the CIO’s remit.
The Wall Street Journal – Inside J.P. Morgan’s Blunder
CEO Dimon Blessed the Concept Behind Disastrous Trades; ‘Blood in the Water’
On April 30, associates who were gathered in a conference room handed Mr. Dimon summaries and analyses of the losses. But there were no details about the trades themselves. “I want to see the positions!” he barked, throwing down the papers, according to attendees. “Now! I want to see everything!” When Mr. Dimon saw the numbers, these people say, he couldn’t breathe. Those trading positions have produced losses that could total as much as $5 billion, tarnishing the record of an executive who had thrived through the global financial crisis and who has long been known for paying close attention to the bank’s trading activity, its risk profile and the activities of its senior employees. J.P. Morgan, the nation’s largest financial firm by assets, is struggling to contain the damage, which already has shaved off more than $25 billion in shareholder value.