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JPMorgan Is Said to Put Mortgage-Bond Trader on Leave

  

bloomberg.com | December 5, 2014 

By Jody Shenn

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) put another of its mortgage-bond traders on leave, the latest in a string of suspensions amid regulatory scrutiny of the market, according to three people with knowledge of the move.

The employee, Joshua Banschick, was told not to come in during the past week, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision wasn’t public. The trader has worked at JPMorgan since 2008, after spending about a year at Bear Stearns Co., the securities firm bought by the bank that year with assistance from the Federal Reserve, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records.

Banschick, 29, who hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, declined to comment when reached on his mobile phone. Brian Marchiony, a spokesman for New York-based JPMorgan, said the bank declined to comment.

The mortgage-bond industry has come under scrutiny of regulators after former Jefferies Group LLC trader Jesse Litvak was accused and later convicted of securities fraud for lying to clients about what he charged them. JPMorgan has placed at least two other traders on leave, while Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Nomura Holdings Inc. also have suspended traders, people with knowledge of those moves said at the time. It’s unclear why the decisions were made or whether any of the actions have been related.
Regulatory Requests

JPMorgan has been “responding to and continuing to cooperate with requests” for information and subpoenas from U.S. agencies, the company said last month in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. They relate to “among other matters, communications with counterparties in connection with certain secondary market trading in residential and commercial” mortgage securities, the bank said.

The U.S. is building potential securities fraud cases against more mortgage traders after the Litvak conviction, two people with knowledge of the investigations said last month. As part of the probe, the government is examining a practice known as parking, where traders seek to skirt capital regulations or internal rules by selling bonds to accomplices with an understanding they’ll repurchase them later, one of the people said.

Litvak, whose attorneys said never made misrepresentations about “the nature or quality” of securities traded, was granted bail in October while he appeals the conviction. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the same month that Litvak raised “substantial” questions of law and fact that are “likely to result” in a reversal of the decision.

 

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