A single trader cost JP Morgan $6 billion last year. The trader, nicknamed the London Whale, had managed to lose more money on his own than some entire divisions in the bank make over the course of a year.
The losses were also notable because they should have been illegal. A 2010 overhaul of bank regulations was supposed to outlaw the kind of reckless gambling the London Whale engaged in. Federal regulators were supposed to ban naked speculation by banks last July, but they’re still haggling over the details of a rule to keep banks full of public money from poisoning themselves.