JPMorgan's Masters abruptly quits group advising regulator
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[February 08, 2014]
By Douwe Miedema
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Blythe Masters,
who heads JPMorgan's <JPM.N> commodities business, has left a group
advising the U.S. derivatives regulator only a day after she joined
it, the agency said on Friday.
JPMorgan declined to comment on the about-face by Masters, one of
the most prominent women on Wall Street.
The workload associated with JPMorgan's sale of its physical
commodities division in the first half of this year would make it
tough for Masters to participate in the group, a person familiar
with the matter said. The bank has offered to make another executive
available, the person said.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Thursday voted on the
new composition of its Global Markets Advisory Committee, a group of
market participants that meets regularly to discuss a broad range of
The committee consists of a large group of senior officials at large
investment banks, asset managers, firms running trading platforms
and industry bodies.
Masters was a striking choice for the normally low-profile advisory
group, having beaten rivals by building up the biggest physical
commodities trading operation on Wall Street at JPMorgan over the
past five years.
The bank has been plagued by a long series of legal issues, paying
$410 million to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last
year to settle allegations of power market manipulation in
Masters, a key lieutenant to JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon,
was not cited for any wrongdoing, though her name is referenced in
the regulator's order a number of times. The bank neither admitted
nor denied any violations in the case.
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JPMorgan decided to sell its multi-billion dollar physical
commodities division last year as regulators and politicians clamped
down on banks active in the markets after complaints of inflated
Trading house Mercuria is the front-runner to buy JPMorgan's
physical commodities unit, Reuters reported this week, though a
final deal could still take a few months to conclude.
JPMorgan agreed to pay $20 billion in settlements to regulators last
year in its drive to clear up legal claims, which included mortgage
and derivative issues alongside the settlement with the FERC.
(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; editing by
Phil Berlowitz and Andrew Hay)
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