JPMorgan’s Masters Said to Withdraw From CFTC Advisory Panel

Feb 07, 2014 1:06 pm ET

(Updates with removal of name from website in the fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Blythe Masters, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s commodities head, withdrew from an advisory committee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission a day after her appointment was disclosed, according to two people with direct knowledge of the decision.

The regulator may include another executive from New York- based JPMorgan on the global markets committee, said one person close to the bank who requested anonymity because the move hasn’t been publicly announced. Masters, 44, stepped down because the company’s sale of its physical commodities unit will keep her occupied, the person said.

JPMorgan is selling a division that deals in assets such as metals and oil, as government watchdogs examine whether federally backed lenders should be involved in such markets. Masters’s appointment drew criticism from Twitter users who questioned the propriety of her advising the regulator of futures and swaps.

Masters, whose name appeared on a list of committee members on the CFTC’s website yesterday, had been scheduled to participate in a Feb. 12 meeting to discuss cross-border guidance on rules. She was invited to the panel by acting Chairman Mark Wetjen, said one of the people. Her name has since been removed from the list.

Brian Marchiony, a JPMorgan spokesman, said the company had no comment.

Power Markets

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, agreed in July to pay $410 million to settle Federal Energy Regulatory Commission claims the firm manipulated power markets. The settlement released the company and its employees from future enforcement actions by the agency. Masters, whose division includes the unit involved in that case, wasn’t named as a defendant.

Masters probably wouldn’t join Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., the Geneva-based firm that’s in exclusive talks to acquire the unit from JPMorgan, a person with knowledge of the auction said this week.

The CFTC’s global markets committee is composed of industry executives and includes representatives from firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

The CFTC has been enacting rules required by the 2010 Dodd- Frank Act designed to reduce risk and increase transparency in the global swaps market, after some firms’ bets on the derivatives helped fuel the 2008 credit crisis.

--Editors: Peter Eichenbaum, Steven Crabill