Morning Coffee: London Whale painted as innocent minnow. Where you have just a 4.5% chance of getting a job

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While “London Whale” Bruno Iksil breathes a sigh of relief after securing an extremely rare deal to escape criminal charges, U.S. prosecutors have stepped up their case against his former supervisor Javier Martin-Artajo and trader Julien Grout.

Martin-Artajo and Grout have been urged to give themselves up to face charges of conspiring to falsify securities filings from March to May last year, tied to the $6.2bn loss at J.P. Morgan’s chief investment office. Meanwhile, both the FBI and U.S. attorneys are attempting to paint a picture of Iksil as the comparatively innocent party who raised the red flag numerous times.

“I don’t think you could call him blameless, but he did sound the alarm more than once,” said U.S. Attorney Jo Preet Bharara.

Iksil, it is alleged, became increasingly exasperated with Martin-Aratjo’s attempts to cover up the losses. Prosecutors claim that on 15 March 2012, the traders hid $292m in losses that should have been taken on the portfolio. “I don’t know where [Mr Martin-Artajo] wants to stop, but it’s getting idiotic,” said Iksil, allegedly.

As Martin-Artajo refused to say anything about the losses, Iksil supposedly told Grout that “I find this ridiculous. I can’t. I can’t deal with this.”

Meanwhile, others claim that targeting individual traders is missing the point: “It seems the prosecutors have gone after the low-hanging fruit in terms of the charges,” Andrew Stoltmann, a lawyer in Chicago who represents investors in securities litigation told Bloomberg. There was “a compelling argument” for charging J.P. Morgan or its senior executives “who misled investors on the size and scope of the losses”.

Separately, despite recruiting thousands, the chances of securing a graduate job at a Big Four professional services firm appears increasingly unlikely. PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young received a record 55,000 applications for 2,450 jobs this year, meaning you have around a 4.5% of success. This is tough, but investment banks in the UK received 110,000 applications for 813 graduate jobs in 2013.


Hiring bankers doesn’t do much for private equity firms (Financial News)

Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray has been paid $120m in bonuses and owns $913m worth of shares in the company (Bloomberg)

The Bank of England gave Mervyn King a £10,000 portrait of himself and spent around £3,000 on his leaving gifts (Independent)

RBC Capital Markets brings in ex-Nomura research chief (Financial News)

Ina Drew and Achilles Macris unlikely to face charges (Reuters)

J.P. Morgan still bolstering its risk functions (Financial News)

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