OPERS, other pension funds settle with JPMorgan

Posted at 4:40 PM, Dec 21, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $150 million to public pension funds and individuals hurt by its $6 billion "London Whale" trading loss, Ohio's attorney general announced Monday.

The settlement deal came in a 2012 class-action lawsuit that alleged JPMorgan Chase issued false and misleading statements regarding its trading activity, describing risky and speculative trading strategies as mere "hedges" or "risk management" devices.

Huge losses from transactions booked through the London office of JPMorgan's chief investment office caused the bank's stock value to plummet, harming investors.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the state's largest public pension fund and one of the largest in the U.S., lost $2.5 million. It joined similar funds in Oregon and Arkansas and Swedish pension fund AP7 as lead plaintiffs. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

"Misleading investors with wrong or incomplete information is unacceptable and causes real damage," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in announcing the agreement. "Ohio's pension funds, like all investors, expect companies to provide accurate information so they can appropriately judge the risk of an investment. I am pleased that Ohio has reached this settlement to help recover investment losses for our OPERS pension system members and also discourage future fraud."

A JPMorgan spokesman said the company would let the agreement speak for itself. The settlement was filed Friday.

In addition to pension funds, thousands of individuals who bought JPMorgan stock between April 13, 2012, and May 21, 2012, are covered under the settlement. DeWine said a claims administrator appointed by the court is expected to begin contacting potential claimants in the next few weeks.