JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon's highly anticipated appearance before lawmakers on Wednesday got off to a rocky start with multiple protesters disrupting the event.
Dimon was called to testify before the Senate Banking Committee to answer why a seemingly low-risk unit of the nation's largest bank by assets has amassed at least $2 billion in trading losses.
The protests started with one man yelling out that “Jamie Dimon is a crook” as Dimon approached the witness table. Dimon, dressed in a conservative suit, appeared unperturbed by the barrage of insults.
Another group of protesters then started chanting, “Stop foreclosures now” before they were escorted out of the cavernous hearing room.
Dimon revealed during a surprise conference call last month that a hedging strategy in its London office had gone awry, producing at least $2 billion, and possibly $3 billion, in trading losses.
That was after Dimon in April dismissed as a “tempest in a teapot” news reports that a “London whale” in that office had amassed an outsized position that prompted hedge funds to bet against it.
In prepared testimony, Dimon said the loss occurred because poorly managed traders embarked in January on a misguided hedging strategy they did not fully understand.
Dimon also said that the trading loss is an isolated incident and that the bank is in solid shape.
“Our fortress balance sheet remains intact,” he said. “While there are still two weeks left in our second quarter, we expect our quarter to be solidly profitable.” - Reuters