The Fed Pretends to Send a Warning to Wall Street’s Mega Banks on Derivatives and Counterparty Risk

Taming the Megabanks

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 29, 2024 ~ On Tuesday, the Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve, Michael Barr, delivered a speech at a risk management conference in Manhattan. Barr’s objective was to convince conference attendees that the Fed has its eye on the ball when it comes to Wall Street mega banks and their counterparties who are sitting on the opposite sides of derivative trades totaling tens of trillions of dollars. (Yes, trillions.) The most illuminating and dangerous elements of Barr’s speech are what he didn’t say. To remind attendees of what could happen if counterparty risks were not managed properly, Barr cited Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) and Archegos Capital Management. LTCM was a hedge fund stocked with the so-called “smartest men in the room,” including two Nobel laureates, who fed mathematical formulas into computers that generated trades using astronomical levels of leverage. Of course, this … Continue reading

$87 Million Buys This for Jamie Dimon: David Boies Can’t Utter the Words “JPMorgan Chase” in a Jeffrey Epstein Sex Trafficking Case

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 27, 2024 ~ On Friday, February 16, ahead of a three-day weekend, JPMorgan Chase quietly filed its 10-K (annual report) with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document carried the bombshell that the bank had paid an astonishing $1.4 billon in legal expenses in 2023 – a 426 percent increase over the prior year’s legal expenses. While the bank didn’t break down the names of the law firms that received the lion’s share of those legal expenses, public records can fill in most of the blanks. Throughout 2023, JPMorgan Chase was paying the expensive lawyers at WilmerHale to defend it against a federal lawsuit brought by the David Boies law firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, on behalf of the raped, assaulted, and sex trafficked underage victims of Jeffrey Epstein. JPMorgan was also paying WilmerHale lawyers throughout 2023 to defend it against Epstein-related charges brought … Continue reading

Jamie Dimon and Nine of His Top Executives at JPMorgan Chase Have Dumped Over $150 Million of their JPMorgan Stock in Last Two Months

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 26, 2024 ~ According to Form 4 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by corporate insiders, ten of the key executives at the largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, have dumped more than $150 million in common stock in the bank this year. The sales come as the bank’s stock has been hitting all time highs while the scandals at the bank are also hitting unprecedented levels. The largest seller by far was the Chairman and CEO of the bank, Jamie Dimon. According to his Form 4, on February 22 of this year, Dimon sold 737,420 shares of the bank’s common stock for $135 million. The newly promoted Troy Rohrbaugh, who is now Co-CEO of JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial and Investment Bank (CIB), sold 75,000 shares on February 22 of this year for $13.7 million. Stacey Friedman, General Counsel at the bank, sold … Continue reading

These Charts Reveal Why the Fed Is Frightened about Capital Levels at the Wall Street Mega Banks

Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 22, 2024 ~ According to Federal Reserve data dating back to July 3, 1985 – a span of close to 39 years – there has not been a time when the largest 25 banks were bleeding deposits on the scale that has been happening for the past 22 months. There has also never been a time comparable to the last 22 months when the largest 25 banks were bleeding deposits while the smaller banks were growing deposits. (See the chart above.) To get our minds around today’s situation, we made another chart using Federal Reserve data dating back to 1998 – the year before the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed. It shows that the ratio of deposits of the 25 largest banks to the smaller banks stood at 3 times in 1998 and has shrunk to its lowest level of 2.03 times as of February 7 … Continue reading

Wall Street Law Firm Sullivan & Cromwell Gets Sued Over Allegations It Aided and Abetted the FTX Crypto Fraud

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 21, 2024 ~ The 144-year old Wall Street go-to law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, may be getting rich on the FTX bankruptcy legal fees, but it’s also doing a helluva job destroying its reputation as a prudent law firm. Last Friday, a federal lawsuit was filed against the law firm alleging civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting fraud, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of civil federal racketeering law in regard to its work for the collapsed crypto exchange, FTX, which looted customer funds to the tune of billions of dollars. We’ll get to the stunning allegations in the lawsuit in a moment, but first some necessary background. Last year, Wall Street On Parade wrote more than 20 articles documenting the labyrinthine and deeply conflicted ways that Sullivan & Cromwell had enmeshed itself in the FTX crypto exchange before the house of cards … Continue reading

JPMorgan Says Its “Trading Venues” Are Under Investigation While It’s Still on Probation for Prior Trading Crimes

Jamie Dimon Sits in Front of Trading Monitor in his Office (Source -- 60 Minutes Interview, November 10, 2019)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 20, 2024 ~ Last Friday, ahead of a three-day weekend when bad news could be expected to evaporate into the ether by the next news cycle, JPMorgan Chase dropped a bombshell in its 10-K (annual report) filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank, which has admitted to an unprecedented five criminal felony counts since 2014, said its “trading venues” were under investigation by three unnamed regulatory bodies. This is a very serious matter for this particular bank because three of its prior felony counts involved rigging markets. The bank admitted to rigging foreign exchange markets in 2015 and to rigging, for more than eight years, the precious metals and U.S. Treasury markets in an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2020. Two of the precious metals traders involved in the 2020 case, Gregg Smith and Michael Nowak, are sitting in … Continue reading

Jamie Dimon Is Desperate to Pin the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal on Jes Staley; Bloomberg News Is Carrying His Water — Again

Jeffrey Epstein (left); Jamie Dimon (right).

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 16, 2024 ~ After hurling salacious allegations for months against Jes Staley in a federal lawsuit JPMorgan Chase had brought against its former executive, the bank decided last September to quietly settle the case without disclosing the terms. The bank sued Staley after it had been sued by victims of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and after it had been sued in a separate lawsuit by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a private island compound that was a frequent venue of Epstein’s sex trafficking of minors. Lawyers for the U.S. Virgin Islands charged that JPMorgan Chase had “actively participated in Epstein’s sex-trafficking venture from 2006 until 2019.” (Both cases were settled last year by the bank, with it paying a whopping $290 million to the victims and $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands.) The bank’s lawsuit against Staley appeared … Continue reading

Citigroup Is Having a Very Bad Week; Regulators Are Breathing Down Its Neck

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 14, 2024 ~ At the exact moment that the stock market closed on Monday, Reuters dropped a bombshell in Warren Buffett’s lap with news that federal banking regulators are breathing down Citigroup’s neck. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns 55,244,797 shares of Citigroup, according to its last 13F filing with the SEC. The bulk of the stake was acquired in the first quarter of 2022. (See our report: Warren Buffett Is Taking a Flyer on $3 Billion of Citigroup’s Stock — After It Loses 40 Percent in a Year.) While a $3 billion stock holding is chump change for Berkshire (as of its last 13F filing, it owned approximately $33 billion in Bank of America stock), Buffett has a stock-picking reputation to defend and neither the history of Citigroup nor its troubles today are boosting that reputation. On Monday, with the strike of the closing bell, Reuters … Continue reading

Five Wall Street Banks Hold $223 Trillion in Derivatives — 83 Percent of All Derivatives at 4,600 Banks

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 13, 2024 ~ According to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), derivatives played a major role in the financial crash of 2007 to 2010 in the United States, the worst financial crisis in the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The FCIC wrote in its final report: “…the existence of millions of derivatives contracts of all types between systemically important financial institutions — unseen and unknown in this unregulated market — added to uncertainty and escalated panic….” Americans believed that the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 would fulfill its promise of reining in concentrated risks like derivatives. It did not. (See our report from 2015: President Has His Facts Seriously Wrong on Financial Reform.) According to data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulator of national banks, as of March 31, 2009, five bank holding companies held … Continue reading

Jamie Dimon’s Statement Last Month that Trump “Was Kind of Right About NATO,” Sounds Even More Unhinged Today

Jamie Dimon Being Sworn In at House Financial Services Committee Hearing, May 27, 2021

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 12, 2024 ~ On January 17 of this year, during a CNBC interview during the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, made the unhinged remark that Donald Trump “was kind of right about NATO.” A New York Times article from January 14, 2019 outlined Trump’s position on NATO as follows: “There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years. “Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States.” This past Saturday, during a campaign stop in South Carolina, Trump recited a prior conversation he said he had had about NATO with a world leader. The video clip of Trump’s remarks was aired yesterday on … Continue reading