Over 4,600 people have gone from J.P. Morgan’s ‘London whale’ division

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There’s one area of J.P. Morgan’s business that stands out as losing a significant number of staff during the first quarter – its corporate and private equity division that houses the Chief Investment Office (CIO), home to the now infamous ‘London whale’ Bruno Iksil.

It now employs 18,026 people, more than 4,600 less than at the start of the year. A large part of the decline is due to the transfer of back office staff to the consumer banking division, which gained fewer than 2,000 people. Where did the rest of the 4,600 go? Out the door, perhaps. J.P. Morgan didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The treasury and CIO division posted a $24m profit this year, a small consolation compared with the $2bn loss booked in the second quarter of 2012. Iksil was largely held responsible for the $6.2bn of losses notched up in J.P. Morgan’s CIO business last year.

Elsewhere, J.P. Morgan kick-started the first quarter reporting season with a bang. Overall profits jumped by 44% to $6.53bn, and its investment bank was $2.61bn in the black, a 28% increase from a year earlier and 30% up on the fourth quarter.

However, revenues in its investment bank were flattered by an accounting gain in its credit spread. DVA movements wiped $907m off first quarter revenues in Q1 2012, but boosted them by $126m this year.

J.P. Morgan announced at an investor day in February that it was cutting 17,000 jobs, largely in its retail banking business, but that “cost synergies” would hit its investment bank. Headcount has been slowly declining – it now employs 51,634 people in investment banking, down from 53,039 in the first quarter of 2012.

However, it appears to be keeping compensation accrual relatively consistent, sticking with its pledge that it would be “maintaining pay for performance culture” again outlined in its investor day. Overall, the comp pot fell from $3.62bn in 2012 to $3.37bn in the first quarter of this year. But on a pay-per-head basis compensation has remained steady – at $65.3k accrued during Q1 2013 and $68.3k last year.

Revenues in both the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and North American investment banking business increased year on year. In EMEA they went from $3bn in Q1 2012 to $3.3bn and North American revenues jumped from $4.78bn to $5.2bn.

Asset management has been touted as a growth area at J.P. Morgan for some time –it increased pay for portfolio managers this year while clamping down on banker bonuses – and this is continuing. Headcount is up 140 since the beginning of the year, and nearly 800 since this point in 2012.

However, so far this hasn’t been reflected in compensation – on a pay per head basis, $62.8k has been accrued in 2013, exactly the same as this point In 2012.

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