CFTC Looking into Alleged Client Steering at JP Morgan Chase

Sep 9 2015 | 7:40pm ET

(Reuters) - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating whether JPMorgan Chase & Co. is steering its private-banking clients to its own hedge-fund investment products without proper disclosures, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the probe.

The CFTC probe includes Highbridge Capital Management LLC, an investment firm owned by J.P. Morgan, the Journal said.

CFTC is investigating why large proportions of Highbridge's assets are coming from J.P. Morgan's private-bank assets and if this factor helped Highbridge stabilize during the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the probe.

Representatives at JPMorgan, Highbridge Capital and CFTC were not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.

Private-bank client assets had grown to 71 percent of Highbridge's flagship fund at the end of 2012, up from 26 percent in 2007, the Journal said, citing a person briefed on the CFTC findings.

JPMorgan was in advanced talks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to pay more than $150 million to resolve allegations that it steered private-banking clients to its own products without proper disclosures, the paper reported in August.

JPMorgan has also been in talks to possibly sell a part of Highbridge to its management team, the Journal said.

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