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From Profits to Pay, JPMorgan’s Gold Secrets Spill Out in Court

  • Business made more than $100 million each year from 2008
  • Defendants’ compensation drew gasps from Chicago jury
Michael Nowak, former head of precious-metals trading for JPMorgan Chase & Co., center, arrives at federal court in Chicago.

Michael Nowak, former head of precious-metals trading for JPMorgan Chase & Co., center, arrives at federal court in Chicago.

Photographer: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg

The trial of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s former head of precious metals has offered unprecedented insights into the trading desk that dominates the global gold market.

Michael Nowak, who ran precious metals trading at JPMorgan for over a decade, is being tried in Chicago along with colleagues Gregg Smith and Jeffrey Ruffo for conspiring to manipulate gold and silver markets. The focus now is on the jury, which began deliberations late Friday, but the proceedings have already shone a new light on the inner workings of the business, from its profitability and market share to its largest clients.