JPMorgan’s introverted $24 million MD canceled by VP on same desk
Michael Nowak seems a bit too sensitive for what’s about to hit him. As an “introverted, smart young father,” Bloomberg says he had a “clean reputation” living in a house with his wife and children in suburban Manhattan. Nowak was a big winner: At just 32, he ran precious metals trading for JPMorgan in New York, London and Singapore. Between the ages of around 34 and 42, JPMorgan paid him $24 million. But now, at the age of 48, her life is very different.
Nowak is one of three JPMorgan traders who will stand trial next Thursday before a federal jury in Chicago. He faces charges of commodity fraud, conspiracy to engage in racketeering and price manipulation, and identity theft. If found guilty, he faces a long prison term. Nowak pleaded not guilty.
Nowak was arrested and released on bail in September 2019 and charged with manipulating prices for an extended period between 2008 and 2016. The immediate catalyst for his arrest appears to have been the trial of John Edmonds, a former vice president of the team, who was 12 years old. years younger than Nowak and paid considerably less – Edmonds earned $2 million for his own stint in the bank.
In 2018, Edmonds pleaded guilty to impersonation and said he learned the practice from senior traders on the team. JPMorgan then paid $920 million to settle claims that it manipulated the market and generated hundreds of millions in losses for counterparties. It is no coincidence that Edmonds is one of the government’s witnesses against Nowak next week as is Armand Nakkab, compliance doctor, and Christian Trunz, a former executive director on the desk who earned $2.7 million and who like Edmonds. says his bosses taught him all the bad practices.
For traders everywhere, it’s a reminder that money is no panacea when things get really bad. It’s also a reminder that juniors who voluntarily did everything they were asked to do can become key witnesses in the event of misconduct allegations.
Nowak’s defense is believed to be likely to say that bluffing rivals with trades you apparently intend to place, but don’t, is now essential to operating in a market full of electronic algorithms. However, others have attempted this defense before, and they have failed.
Separately, Axios claims that equity capital markets (ECMs), which had had nothing to do since March, are now coming to the conclusion that they will have nothing to do until 2023, at the earliest. The seeds of IPOs are “germinating underground,” says an IPO adviser, but it will still be a long time before they break the ground. That doesn’t sound like good news for ECM jobs…
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