JPMorgan’s Australia arm fined $509,000 for allowing suspicious client orders

By Thomson Reuters May 8, 2024 | 8:41 PM

(Reuters) – JPMorgan’s Australian arm has been fined A$775,000 ($509,252.50) for allowing suspicious client orders to be placed on wheat futures trading designed to manipulate the market, the country’s corporate regulator said on Thursday.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said it found J.P. Morgan Securities’ failure to identify the suspicious trades to be “careless” and that it should have acted more expeditiously when the regulator flagged the transactions.

Farmers use the contracts to manage wheat price fluctuations, which can affect what Australians pay at the checkout, the regulator said in a statement.

“JPMSAL (J.P. Morgan Securities) has resolved this matter,” a JPMorgan spokesperson told Reuters.

JPMorgan did not contest the allegations against it and paid the penalty amount, the regulator said.

The company was found to have failed to detect 36 orders on the Eastern Australia Wheat futures between Jan. 11 and March 3, 2022 that were placed with the intention of manipulating the market.

The orders were carried out “close to the end of a trading session to influence the daily settlement price of a derivate contract,” the regulator said.

“There are real-world consequences for this sort of behaviour, which is why tackling manipulation in energy and commodities derivatives markets has been an ASIC priority,” ASIC  Deputy Chair Sarah Court said.

($1 = 1.5200 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Poonam Behura in Bengaluru and Scott Murdoch in Sydney; Editing by Tasim Zahid and Subhranshu Sahu)