Dimon Testimony Delayed by Protests, 'Occupy The SEC' Has Exactly 11 Questions For Jamie Dimon:
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Dimon Testimony Delayed by Protests, 'Occupy The SEC' Has Exactly 11 Questions For Jamie Dimon
By Kevin Zeese - Posted on 13 June 2012
June 12, 2012
Occupy the SEC has some questions for Jamie Dimon.
Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the bank that lost $2 billion and counting last month due to a bad trade, is testifying in front of the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday to explain the huge loss. Dimon is expected to describe the loss as nothing more than an ?isolated event,? according to his prepared remarks. In the wake of the loss though, regulators and critics have said it raises questions about the huge bank's ability to manage itself -- and whether regulators are adequately monitoring JPMorgan and other large banks like it.
Among those critics is Occupy the SEC, a group affiliated with the Occupy movement that aims to strengthen financial regulation. The organization compiled a seven-page letter in advance of Dimon's testimony with the purpose airing their complaints about Dimon and the JPMorgan loss, as well as providing lawmakers with a list of questions to ask the banking chief.
"This embarrassing episode for JPM highlights the extent to which major banks will engage in risky proprietary trading and try to disguise it as risk management," Occupy the SEC wrote in a letter to the Senate Banking Committee before Dimon?s prepared remarks were released (h/t Naked Capitalism).
Occupy the SEC sees one way to prevent another JPMorgan-style loss: Strengthening the Volcker Rule. The provision, which is part of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, aims to curb banks? ability to make risky trades with their own money. After the announcement of the loss by Dimon, himself a strong critic of the rule, some said it could have been prevented by the measure he so staunchly opposed.
Many of Occupy the SEC?s questions are focused on JPMorgan?s Chief Investment Office. That's largely because the unit, which was responsible for the huge loss, was subjected to less stringent risk controls than the rest of the bank, according to Reuters.
?Unfortunately, the Volcker Rule?s current form, as proposed by banking regulators, contains many loopholes that would permit egregious speculation like that undertaken by JP Morgan?s CIO office,? Occupy the SEC wrote in its letter. The group has been advocating for a stronger Volcker Rule for some time, marching outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February.
For its part, Wall Street doesn?t seem to be too concerned about JPMorgan?s screw up. About a dozen financial industry insiders told Bloomberg that that loss was just, well, kind of par for the course.
1. In light of these conflicts of interest [between JPMorgan Chase and the Federal Reserve], Mr. Dimon will you step down from your current role as Board member even before your term expires later this year? Do you believe conflicts of interest exist amongst banks, regulators, and the Federal Reserve Bank? If so, how do you define them?
2. Mr. Dimon, how much did you know about JPM?s risk controls as theyrelated to the CIO?s activities? What reports did you receive on the CIO?s positions and howoften did you receive them? Did they show deteriorating values? If so, why were you surprised by the loss? If not, why not? How quickly did the positions reach the reported $2billion mark-to-market value?
3. Why does Jamie Dimon continue to publicly mischaracterize thesetransactions as hedges? What are the specific positions that these ?economic hedges? aredesigned to offset? How many other members of JPM are engaged in this type of ?hedging?activity?
4. Please disclose your calendar and call diary so we can determine howmany regulators you have met with and how frequently.
5. Please disclose the compensation paid to the members of the CIO desk since its inception and the documentation that supported the determination of their bonuses.
6. When was the CIO desk created? How much did the CIO desk earn for JPM since its creation?
7. Have any of the remaining positions that are currently underwater beenmoved out of the trading book, or restructured to enable JPM to transfer the positions to an Available for Sale or Held to Maturity classification to defer reporting of the losses?
8. In light of the recent disclosures concerning the gaps in the risk control environment, do you stand by your Sarbanes-Oxley certifications to the effect that there wereno material internal control gaps? How do you intend to remediate the existing internal control gaps in order to sign the next SOX Internals Control certification? If these gapscannot be fixed, will the upcoming JPM SOX certification contain a disclosure of material weakness in internal controls?
9. Was it appropriate for JPM to have been bailed out by the Federal Reserve, considering the evidence of how JPM?s CIO desk has put depositor money at risk?What concrete changes will your firm make going forward to assure that it will not require(or request) further bailouts?
10. Do you support Dennis Kucinich?s Bill H.R. 2990 to support a secureeconomy by giving up the private bank?s privilege of creating the country?s money by lending it with interest to persons, corporations and the U.S. government?
11. What do you think would be an appropriate government response to theclearly unorthodox and internationally destabilizing actions taken by officers of your bank,under your supervision?
For the full letter which has a lot more details then merely the questions see Letter to the U.S. Senate Banking, Husing and Urban Affairs Committee regarding the Testimony of JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
For more information see www.OcccupyTheSEC.org
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS:
The start of a senate hearing with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was delayed by demonstrators in the room who shouted about stopping foreclosures. Another demonstrator shouted, 'Jamie Dimon's a crook....