UK Markets closed

JP Morgan Traders May Have Pay 'Clawed-Back'

(c) Sky News 2012

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase (Hanover: 850628 - news) has told US senators that bank executives responsible for a multi-billion trading loss will probably have some of their pay taken back by the company.

Jamie Dimon told the Senate Banking Committee: "It's likely that there will be claw-backs."

The start of the hearing was delayed by demonstrators in the room who shouted about stopping foreclosures.

Another demonstrator shouted: "Jamie Dimon's a crook."

At least a dozen people were escorted from the hearing room.

The trading losses of at least $2bn (£1.3bn), revealed last month, have heightened concerns that the biggest banks still pose risks to the US financial system less than four years after the financial crisis.

Mr Dimon said the company adopted a strategy late last year to reduce risk but it backfired in its investment operation by heightening risk instead.

He said: "We made a mistake. I'm responsible, the buck stops with me."

But he added that, under bank policy, stock and bonuses can be recovered from executives for exercising bad judgment - although the policy has never been invoked.

The hearing often developed into political point-scoring between Republicans and Democrats over the issue of banking regulation.

Democrat Robert Menendez challenged the bank boss on his strenuous opposition to stricter financial regulation, and noted that JPMorgan received a $20bn taxpayer bailout at the height of the crisis in 2008.

Last September, Mr Dimon described as "anti-American" proposals for new international standards for banks to hold larger capital cushions.

"You railed against us when we were in fact trying to pursue great capitalization of these banks," said Mr Menendez.

"It seems to me that the American people are a big part of helping to make your bank healthy."

The US comptroller of the currency, a key regulator, suggested last week that the JP Morgan Chase lacked strong controls to contain risk in its investment operations.

Mr Dimon was asked whether he personally approved the trading strategy.

He said: "I was aware of it, but I didn't approve it."

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing what JPMorgan told investors about its finances and the risks it took before the loss.

In April, Mr Dimon dismissed concerns about the bank's trading as a "tempest in a teapot".

He later conceded that he'd been "dead wrong" to minimise the concerns.