Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and co-author of the so-called Volcker rule, said the New York-based bank’s disclosure is a “stark reminder” to regulators drafting the proprietary-trading banrequired by the Dodd-Frank Act.
“Regulators are under huge pressure by Wall Street and others to weaken the clear language in Dodd-Frank,” Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview. JPMorgan’s trade is “clearly not permitted under the Volcker language.”
The rule named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker was included in the 2010 regulatory overhaul as a way to keep banks from putting federally insured deposits at risk. Wall Street firms including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) andMorgan Stanley (MS), have lobbied to expand exemptions included in their initial proposal, complaining that the measure is so broad and ill-defined that it will increase risks for clients.
“Their ability to shape the discussion in Washington, D.C., on the Volcker rule might have gotten materially set back,” David Hendler, an analyst at CreditSights Inc., said in an interview.
Levin and Senator Jeff Merkley, the Oregon Democrat who co-wrote the provision, have used meetings and a comment letter to press regulators to tighten restrictions in the final rule. Levin said that while he hadn’t decided whether the disclosure would lead to congressional hearings, it should underline the intent of the law for regulators drafting the final rule.
Julie Edwards, Merkley’s spokeswoman, said the JPMorgan disclosure “speaks for itself.”
Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-wrote the regulatory law that bears his name, said the loss“obviously goes counter to the bank’s narrative blaming excessive regulation for the woes of financial institutions.”
JPMorgan’s travails may serve to undermine banks’ efforts to shape the Volcker restrictions as regulators including the Fed, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. work to complete and implement the final rule, “They’ve now just provided some ammunition, one would suspect, to the legislative and regulatory personnel who will just point at this and say, ‘It seems to me that these people don’t really have a good handle on what they’re doing,’”Satyajit Das, author of “Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk,” said in a phone interview from Sydney.
Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts candidate for U.S. Senate, called for JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon to resign his position as a director at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Dimon, who disclosed a $2 billion trading loss by his bank last week, shouldn’t stay on the board of the New York Fed because “he advises the Federal Reserve on the oversight of the financial industry,” she said in an e-mail release.