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Jamie Dimon Digs In His Heels

Speaking of JP Morgan, the other interesting thing in that Journal piece I just linked to is that CEO Jamie Dimon is apparently digging in for a fight against the regulation of derivatives, which are a huge moneymaker for JP Morgan but also a target of the administration's regulatory efforts. This is hardly a surprise given the money at stake. But in a Journal op-ed last month, Dimon seemed open at least in principle to trading fairly standard derivatives on exchanges. (See here for an explication of derivatives and the significance of putting them on exchanges and clearinghouses.) Now that earlier position has apparently hardened, if in fact it ever existed. (My guess is that, even if it did, it wasn't necessarily meaningful since the game would have been to exploit some fairly obvious loopholes.) According to the Journal:

The bank supports a proposal to send standard derivatives contracts through an industrywide clearinghouse that can be monitored by regulators. J.P. Morgan, however, opposes a requirement that the trades should be moved onto an exchange, in part, because it would inhibit the use of customized derivatives that clients require.

This is definitely a fight to watch, particularly as there's some difference of opinion within the administration over derivatives. As I understand it, Tim Geithner isn't wedded to exchanges. But Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler, one of the two regulators with jurisdiction over derivatives (alongside SEC chairman Mary Schapiro), is pretty committed to the idea.

--Noam Scheiber