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3 to lose jobs at JPMorgan over $2B loss

- Associated Press - Sunday, May 13, 2012

NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase is expected to accept the resignation of one of the highest-ranking women on Wall Street after the bank lost $2 billion in a trading blunder, a person familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The bank will accept the resignation of Ina Drew, its chief investment officer, the person told the Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the decision publicly.

Ms. Drew, 55, one of the highest-paid officials at JPMorgan Chase, had offered to resign several times since CEO Jamie Dimon disclosed the trading loss on Thursday, the person said. Pressure built on the bank over the weekend to accept.

At least two other executives at the bank will be held accountable for the mistake, the person said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Achilles Macris, who heads the London-based desk that placed the trades, and trader Javier Martin-Artajo, a managing director on Mr. Macris' team, will leave the firm this week.

The Journal also reported that Bruno Iksil, the JPMorgan trader identified as the "London whale" because of the giant bets he placed, was also likely to leave, but the paper reported that it was not clear when that would happen.

The casualties come as JPMorgan, the largest bank in the U.S., seeks to minimize the damage caused by the $2 billion loss. Investors shaved almost 10 percent off JPMorgan's stock price on Friday.

Mr. Dimon has said the mistake will complicate the efforts of banks to fight certain regulatory changes three years after the financial crisis.

JPMorgan's disclosure has led lawmakers and critics of the banking industry to call for stricter regulation of Wall Street. Many post-crisis rules governing risk-taking by banks are still being written.

Ms. Drew oversaw the division of the bank responsible for the loss. She was paid $15.5 million last year and almost $16 million in 2010, making her one of the highest-paid officials at JPMorgan, according to a regulatory filing.

Ms. Drew declined comment through a bank spokeswoman.

Kristin Lemkau, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase, also declined comment.

The surprise loss has been a black eye for the bank and for Mr. Dimon, who is known in the industry both as a master of risk management and as an outspoken opponent of some proposed regulation since the crisis.

Mr. Dimon said in a TV interview aired Sunday that he was "dead wrong" when he dismissed concerns about the bank's trading last month.

"We made a terrible, egregious mistake," Mr. Dimon said in an interview that was taped Friday and aired on NBC's "Meet the Press." "There's almost no excuse for it."

Mr. Dimon said he did not know the extent of the problem when he said in April that the concerns were a "tempest in a teapot."

The loss came in the past six weeks. Mr. Dimon has said it came from trading in so-called credit derivatives and was designed to hedge against financial risk, not to make a profit for the bank.

Mr. Dimon told NBC that he supported giving the government the authority to dismantle a failing big bank and wipe out shareholder equity. But he stressed that JPMorgan, the largest bank in the United States, is "very strong."

A piece of financial regulation known as the Volcker rule would prevent banks from certain kinds of trading for their own profit. Mr. Dimon has said the trading involved in the $2 billion loss would not have fallen under the rule.

Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, told ABC's "This Week" that he hopes the final version of the Volcker rule will prevent the type of trading that led to the massive loss at JPMorgan.

Mr. Dimon conceded to NBC that the bank "hurt ourselves and our credibility" and expects to "pay the price for that." Asked what the price should be, Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, said that banks will lose their fight to weaken the rule.

"We've got to be very, very careful that the regulators here are not undermined by this huge effort to weaken the rule by putting in a huge loophole" that includes the trading involved in the JPMorgan loss, he said.

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