February 26, 2024

It may seem hard to believe, but individual investors (so-called “retail investors”) should know that Wall Street is not on their side.

The news media hardly mentioned it, but there’s been another recent example of Wall Street’s true relationship with retail investors, and it should serve as a reminder. For Wall Street, separating you and your money is more important than making you money.

The Securities and Exchange Commission fined JP Morgan Chase $18 million to settle civil charges. Of course, for such a financial titan, that sum isn’t a slap in the wrist or a drop in the bucket – it’s less than that. The company reported revenue of $132 billion in 2022, making this fine 0.01% of revenue.

The fine was for writing contracts saying customers couldn’t report wrongdoing to the SEC. I’m not kidding. The global elite bank had a rule effectively saying that if it wronged a customer and credited or paid out more than $1,000 to fix that wrong, the customer was barred from reporting it to the SEC.

In other words, JP Morgan Chase wanted to keep the pain private. When someone says, “Let’s keep this off the books,” something potentially dangerous is going on in that transaction.

Thankfully, the SEC identified the issue. The $18 million fine is absurdly small, but it’s at least a public acknowledgement that such actions aren’t in line with the rules.

For investors, this should serve as a chilling reminder that Wall Street is not on your side.

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