JPMorgan Gave Risk Oversight to Museum Head-good enough?
The three directors who oversee risk at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) (JPM) include a museum head who sat on American International Group Inc.’s governance committee in 2008, the grandson of a billionaire and the chief executive officer of a company that makes flight controls and work boots.
What the risk committee of the biggest U.S. lender lacks, and what the five next largest competitors have, are directors who worked at a bank or as financial risk managers. The only member with any Wall Street experience, James Crown, hasn’t been employed in the industry for more than 25 years.
“It seems hard to believe that this is good enough,” said Anat Admati, a professor of finance at Stanford University who studies corporate governance. “It’s a massive task to watch the risk of JPMorgan.”
The bank has been under siege since CEO Jamie Dimon said May 10 that the firm’s chief investment office suffered a $2 billion loss trading credit derivatives. He later called it “a Risk 101 mistake.” Shares of the New York-based company have fallen 17 percent since, and at least half a dozen agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are investigating.
The probes began after traders in the London office, which manages the bank’s excess cash, made wrong-way bets on illiquid credit derivatives, some of them so large they distorted market prices. Dimon transformed the division under Ina Drew, who resigned over the losses, from a sleepy haven for traders of U.S. Treasuries into a profit center with an increasing appetite for exotic wagers.
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