Macey: Why The London Whale Scandal Was Blown Out of Proportion


We interview Jonathan Macey, who is Yale University's Sam Harris Professor of Corporate Law, Corporate Finance and Securities Law. Jonathan has authored several books on corporations and the law, and joins The Motley Fool to talk about his most recent work, The Death of Corporate Reputation.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Brendan Byrnes: I wanted to ask you about the JPMorgan London Whale scandal. Their stock price now is up higher than it was back prior to the scandal. Do you think this is any kind of hit to their reputation, or hurts them long-term?

Jonathan Macey: It's interesting. Every scandal is different.

The JPMorgan London Whale scandal was very different than, say, the Goldman Sachs Abacus scandal. The Goldman Sachs Abacus scandal, they're ripping off people. In the London Whale, you have a guy who's proprietary trading. He's trading with JPMorgan's own money, and he's losing money. He's just making bad bets.

There's nothing in that scandal that impugns JPMorgan's honesty or integrity, or the way they interface with customers. It's all about, do they have adequate internal controls...?

The London Whale scandal is really all about...if anybody cares about it, it really should be the shareholders, to the extent that it suggests weakness of controls, but as we see from the market, this seems to be something that JPMorgan has under control. It seems to be a bit aberrational.

Clearly, the company is taking it very seriously, so I don't think that the London Whale scandal really is...I think the market's right in not reacting to it. I think people are blowing it tremendously out of proportion. It's their problem. They made a mistake -- a big mistake; it cost them billions -- but they're moving on. They make a lot of money, and even in that quarter they didn't show a loss.

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Brendan Byrnes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co.. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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