The Commodities Futures Trading Commission's inquiry into JPMorgan Chase wrongdoing related to the "London Whale" derivatives bets isn't that significant in dollar terms. But it looks like it's reaching a significant end with $100 million in fines and—crucially—an admission of wrongdoing.
Banks have been very reluctant to admit wrongdoing in regulatory settlements over the past 10–15 years, and regulators have generally been willing to forgo admissions in order to get settlements done. The new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission launched an initiative to revive wrongdoing admissions at the beginning of the year, and the CFTC, which has generally been the toughest Obama-era regulator has picked up the baton here. Admission of wrongdoing is particularly important in the JPMorgan context because the firm is in such a diverse range of legal problems, and yet its CEO seems likely to skate away unscathed. The bank's preferred interpretation of that is that they're somehow being unfairly singled out by regulators. Admissions of wrongdoing, by contrast, tend to establish the other view—that the bank is just lawless and out of control.
TODAY IN SLATE
Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.
Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.
Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution
Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada
Now, journalists can't even say her name.
Lena Dunham, the Book
More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.