JPMorgan Chase London Whale C: Risk Limits, Metrics, and Models

Yale Program on Financial Stability Case Study 2014-2C-V1

16 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2015

See all articles by Arwin G Zeissler

Arwin G Zeissler

Yale University - Yale Program on Financial Stability

Andrew Metrick

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Yale Program on Financial Stability

Date Written: December 1, 2014

Abstract

Value at Risk (VaR) is one of the most commonly used ways to measure and monitor market risk. At JPMorgan Chase (JPM), very large derivative positions established by Bruno Iksil in the Synthetic Credit Portfolio (SCP) caused the bank’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) to exceed its VaR limit for four days in a row in January 2012. In response, the CIO changed to a new VaR model on January 30, which appeared to immediately reduce VaR by half. However, JPM soon discovered that this new VaR model had not been properly implemented and the bank went back to using the previous model. In addition, Iksil, other SCP staff, and their managers also disregarded several other risk metrics and limits during the first quarter of 2012. However, after JPM’s Chief Investment Officer learned on March 23 that Iksil and the SCP had breached the CIO’s mark-to-market Credit Spread Widening 10% risk limit the day before, she ordered trading of the SCP to be halted immediately.

Keywords: Systemic Risk, Financial Crises, Financial Regulation

JEL Classification: G01, G28

Suggested Citation

Zeissler, Arwin G and Metrick, Andrew, JPMorgan Chase London Whale C: Risk Limits, Metrics, and Models (December 1, 2014). Yale Program on Financial Stability Case Study 2014-2C-V1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2577856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2577856

Arwin G Zeissler

Yale University - Yale Program on Financial Stability ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Andrew Metrick (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
(203)-432-3069 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.som.yale.edu/andrewmetrick/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University - Yale Program on Financial Stability

165 Whitney Avenue
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

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