The SEC announced yesterday that JPMorgan Securities LLC agreed to pay $153.6 million to settle SEC charges that the company "misled investors in a complex mortgage securities transaction just as the housing market was starting to plummet." Pursuant to the settlement, "harmed investors will receive all of their money back.” Just like it did with Goldman Sachs and its now infamous ABACUS 2007-1 deal, the SEC alleged that JPMorgan allowed a hedge fund manager to pick the assets that went into its (equally obscurely named) Squared CDO 2007-1 deal without disclosing that the hedge fund chose the worst assets it could find because it planned to short the offering. You know how this story ended – investors lost their shirts, the hedge fund got rich(er).
The settlement has been widely reported in the media, with some interesting takes on the meaning of the settlement to the overall prosecution (by the SEC, private investors, attorneys general, and the DOJ) of the banks for their role in the crisis. Among the more interesting pieces:
"Is JPMorgan's Settlement The End Of Subprime Claims?" (Reuters) (arguing that that the settlement was a win for JPMorgan but that it does not mark the end of the pain for the bank or its competitors who all face dozens of pending investor lawsuits)
"JPMorgan Settlement Suggests More Pain Ahead For Wall Street" (WSJ – Law Blog) (predicting increased pressure by the SEC on other banks for similar settlements and including the most bizarre and disturbing quote from an email that the JPMorgan employee in charge of selling the Squared CDO 2007-1 deal wrote to his sales team: “We are soooo pregnant with this deal, we need a wheel-barrow to move around . . . Let’s schedule the Cesarean please!”)
"JPMorgan Settlement With SEC Recalls Case Against Goldman Sachs" (providing more detailed reporting on the story and less commentary than the others)