Tough Times for Wall Street’s Titans

It’s been a bad run the last week for Wall Street Titans.Most notably, two longstanding untouchables, JPMorgan (JPM) chief Jamie Dimon and star hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, are now facing intense scrutiny for their roles in scandals that have resulted in billions of dollars of investor money being lost or pulled from their institutions.

As we noted last week, Dimon’s integrity was called into question when a new Senate committee report on the $6 billion “London Whale” trading loss put the focus on his credibility and truthfulness. As the New York Times noted on Monday morning: “An uncomfortable spotlight has swung back on Mr. Dimon all the same, as the (Senate) hearing and the panel’s report detailed his role in the trading blowup, potentially creating fresh challenges for a chief executive long praised for his risk-management process.”

The article, by reporters Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, noted that Dimon is not likely to face a serious threat to his power, even though some investors and members of the bank’s board “are growing frustrated with what one shareholder called his ‘off-putting arrogance,” Indeed, the Whale episode calls into question whether Dimon’s hubris will interfere with his management of the nation’s largest bank.

The news could be even worse for hedge fund prince Stevie Cohen, who last week wrote the biggest check ever for insider trading violations. His firm, the hugely successful hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, will pay a $616 million civil penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle two-insider trading cases.

In light of such a settlement, it’s probably safe to assume that it hasn’t just been Stevie’s superior business acumen that let to those outsized 20-30 percent annual returns over the last 20 years

As several news sources reported over the weekend, federal prosecutors and securities regulators continue to investigate Stevie and SAC.

To make matters worse, the SEC investigation and fine have essentially caused a run on the bank. “SAC has been trying to stem an investor exodus,” reported Michael Rothfeld, Jean Eaglesham and Chad Bray. Investors have recently issued requests to redeem $1.7 billion of SAC’s $15 billion in assets under management.”

It’s the underlings that typically fare worse in such inquiries. At least six former SAC traders have already pled guilty. Stevie, meanwhile, can keep writing checks and stave off a prosecution.

After all, money talks. And Stevie and Dimon have plenty of that, no matter how embarrassing the coming months prove to be.

Disclosure: Zamansky & Associates (www.zamansky.com) are securities fraud lawyers representing investors in federal and state litigation and FINRA arbitration against financial institutions, including JPMorgan in connection with the London Whale trading losses.
About Jacob H. Zamansky 57 Articles

Jacob (”Jake”) H. Zamansky is one of the country’s foremost authorities on securities arbitration law, the legal recourse for investors claiming broker wrongdoing, or for brokers claiming wrongful termination or other misconduct by their employer. Zamansky & Associates, the New York-based law firm he founded, represents both individuals and institutions in complex securities, hedge fund, and employment arbitrations.

Mr. Zamansky was at the forefront of recent efforts to “clean up” Wall Street. In 2001, he successfully sued former Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget on behalf of a New York pediatrician misled by Blodget’s stock research. The case’s successful resolution was the catalyst for New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer to investigate the conflicts of interest on Wall Street and resulted in the well-reported $1.4 billion Global Settlement, which included many of the biggest names on Wall Street.

More recently, Mr. Zamansky is one of the leading litigators and opinion leaders of the subprime mortgage crisis and the related hedge fund collapses, representing both investors and mortgage borrowers who were defrauded by Wall Street firms and mortgage lenders. Among Mr. Zamansky’s early actions is filing the first arbitration case on behalf of institutional and high net worth investors against Bear Stearns Asset Management with regard to the two hedge funds which collapsed as a result of exposure to subprime mortgage backed securities. He also has filed claims on behalf of individual investors victimized by brokers that steered their portfolios into unsuitable subprime stocks and mortgage borrowers who were fraudulently coerced into inappropriate mortgage and investment transactions.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Zamansky worked for more than 30 years as a litigator, including positions at Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP. His tenure also included serving as a federal prosecutor with the Federal Trade Commission.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Zamansky has been a frequent expert commentator on CNBC, CNN, and FOX News and has published opinion pieces in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and USA Today. He is regularly quoted and his cases have been chronicled in major financial and news publications including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, BusinessWeek, Fortune and Forbes. He is a frequent lecturer for industry and legal groups around the country. He also writes a blog that can be viewed here.

Visit: Zamansky & Associates

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