JPMorgan’s Kolanovic Accuses Colleagues of Political Bias
A monitor displays JP Morgan Chase & Co. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

JPMorgan’s Kolanovic Accuses Colleagues of Political Bias

Election Day tensions are rippling through one of Wall Street’s premier research units.

Marko Kolanovic, a top quant strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., accused his colleagues of allowing political bias to influence their market research.

“Wait so our commodity guys base their forecast based on our FX guys’ forecast, which based forecast based on our economist forecast, who bases his forecast of party preference,” Kolanovic quipped Tuesday in an internal chat with more than 250 of JPMorgan’s sales, trading and research workers, according to a transcript seen by Bloomberg News.

JPMorgan’s Kolanovic Accuses Colleagues of Political Bias

One of the bank’s derivatives sales traders had just posted a summary of the commodities strategists’ views on how a win by former Vice President Joe Biden would affect the market, saying there would be “very little impact” on U.S. oil production.

“Lol. Its a joke -- with Biden you remove Iran sanctions, and economy slows down under pressure of massive taxes, and Covid is treated with lockdowns,” Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s global head of macro quantitative and derivatives strategy, wrote. “Its a joke. Should be the opposite of that.”

That this internal group chat forum -- normally reserved for dry, often technical commentary on derivatives-market flows -- turned into a heated political exchange underscores just how high tensions are running on Election Day. Blocks from JPMorgan’s Manhattan headquarters, retailers boarded up windows in anticipation of potential violence in the wake of the results.

It’s not the first time Kolanovic has waded into U.S. election controversies. On Aug. 31, after he told investors to position themselves for rising odds that President Donald Trump would win re-election, he took to Twitter to ridicule polling analyst Nate Silver, who disagreed with him. The JPMorgan strategist retweeted posts by people claiming Kolanovic was smarter than Silver.

One worker said the bank’s trading floor fell silent after Kolanovic’s remarks in the chat Tuesday morning.

The chat group has been a flashpoint for workers in the past when participants have on occasion made comments about race and politics. One individual making inappropriate remarks was chided by a more senior participant, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.

As Kolanovic continued making comments Tuesday, at least a dozen new participants were added to the instant-messaging group, including senior managers such as global equities chief Jason Sippel. Several colleagues commented that they appreciated Kolanovic’s analysis after he questioned many public projections about the election. Later, Troy Rohrbaugh, who sits on the bank’s elite operating committee, was invited into the group. The conversation went silent, one person in the chat said.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment, and Kolanovic didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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