JPMorgan Unit Fined for Failing to Ensure It Didn't Hire Crooks

  • Brokerage to pay $1.25 million for background screening lapses
  • Finra says four workers would’ve been barred by proper checks

It probably comes as no surprise that banks are barred from hiring people who’ve been convicted of crimes. What is surprising is that for most of the past decade a JPMorgan Chase & Co. brokerage unit didn’t perform basic checks to keep that from happening.

JP Morgan Securities will pay $1.25 million to settle claims that it failed to do sufficient background screening for 95 percent of its non-registered employees from January 2009 to May 2017, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said in a statement Tuesday. During that period, four people who would have been disqualified because of criminal convictions worked for the unit, Finra said.

Of the 8,600 workers involved, about 2,000 weren’t fingerprinted in a timely manner as required to help determine whether they were eligible to be hired. Others were fingerprinted, but screening for convictions was limited, Finra said.

“Finra member firms play an important gatekeeper role in keeping bad actors from harming investors,” Susan Schroeder, the industry-funded regulator’s enforcement chief, said in the statement. “Firms have a clear responsibility to appropriately screen all employees for past criminal or regulatory events.”

JPMorgan agreed to settle the claims without admitting or denying wrongdoing, and agreed to do better next time.

“We self-reported this matter and are pleased it’s now behind us,” a bank spokesperson said in an emailed statement “We are committed to having appropriate controls to comply with regulatory requirements.”

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