20 February 2019
Mistakes made by JPMorgan resulted in 41,000 cases of 'naked' short selling, the SFC said. Photo: Bloomberg
Mistakes made by JPMorgan resulted in 41,000 cases of 'naked' short selling, the SFC said. Photo: Bloomberg

SFC fines JPMorgan HK$30 mln for breaking regulations

JPMorgan Chase & Co. units have been fined HK$30 million (US$3.9 million) in Hong Kong for regulatory breaches by the firm’s institutional equities business between 2010 and 2013.

Failures connected with principal trading and dark liquidity pool trading also occurred, the Securities and Futures Commission said in a statement Tuesday.

Between May 2010 and February 2013, mistakes in aggregating positions to determine whether they were net long or net short resulted in more than 41,000 uncovered short-sale trades being wrongly conducted as long-sale trades, the SFC said.

In Hong Kong, “naked” or “uncovered” short selling, where investors sell a security short before borrowing it, is prohibited.

“We have fully cooperated with the SFC and are pleased to have resolved these legacy issues in relation to certain aspects of our systems and controls in the institutional equities business in Hong Kong,” Bloomberg quoted Marie Cheung, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, as saying in an e-mail.

“The firm has strengthened its internal systems and controls to ensure compliance with the prevailing rules and regulations.”

Among other deficiencies described by the SFC:

– A sample review revealed that 34 percent of short-selling orders in May 2012 from two JPMorgan units for principal trading lacked the appropriate “documentary assurance”.

– Between January 2011 and December 2012, JPMorgan lacked adequate systems and controls to prevent client facilitation trades being executed without client consent.

– Agency orders were wrongly mixed with principal orders in dark liquidity pool operations.

The penalties took into account JPMorgan’s cooperation and clean disciplinary record, the regulator said.

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