Apparently running a museum is enough to qualify you to judge whether a bank's risk is too big. At least according to JPMorgan Chase.
The committee responsible for overseeing risks at JPMorgan includes Ellen Futter, the head of the American Museum of Natural History, Bloomberg reports. Futter also sat on the governance committee of AIG in 2008 right before the firm's infamous collapse. Other committee members include the CEO of a defense contractor and a man who hasn’t worked on Wall Street for 25 years. What the committee's missing that all the other big banks have: people who worked as financial risk managers.
The makeup of JPMorgan's committee hasn’t changed since 2008, but the bank was warned last year that it wasn’t up to the task of monitoring the bank’s risk. CtW Investment Group, a labor-backed shareholder group, sought to remove Futter and urged the bank to increase the committee’s authority, according to Reuters.
UPDATE: JPMorgan is planning on shaking up the members of its risk committee, the Wall Street Journal reports. The change was reportedly in the works before the bank disclosed a $2 billion trading loss on May 10.
JPMorgan has come under fire in the wake of the loss that may have already cost the bank $30 billion, if the drop in its stock price is included. When JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon disclosed the loss earlier this month, he said it was the result of "egregious self-inflicted mistakes," adding that the bad trades were “poorly executed and poorly monitored.”
The bank’s chief investment office, the group responsible for the trade, is developing a reputation for questionable risk management. It invested in financially troubled companies including LightSquared Inc., a wireless broadband provider that filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In addition, Irvin Goldman, the man responsible for overseeing risk in JPMorgan's CIO, was fired by Cantor Fitzgerald in 2007 for making losing bets that resulted in sanctions from regulators, according to BusinessWeek. Ina Drew, the head of the CIO, retired earlier this month in the wake of the scandal.
Still, despite the less-than-conservative risk strategy at his bank, many have praised Dimon for his risk management. Even after news of the loss broke, President Obama said that Dimon is "one of the smartest bankers we got."
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