NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase
(JPM) commodities chief Blythe Masters resigned from a regulatory advisory committee a day after her appointment, having essentially been booed off the stage in a scenario that resembles the bank's #AskJPM Twitter fiasco.
The high-profile executive, arguably one of Wall Street's most powerful women, "has withdrawn her name and participation from our global markets advisory committee," said Commodity Futures Trading Commission spokesman Steve Adamske.
Two JPMorgan spokespeople declined to comment and email messages to Masters weren't returned.
Masters' withdrawal comes after widespread online jeering in the comments section of a Bloomberg News report, on the website zerohedge, and of course on Twitter, where even before this latest issue came up there was a fake Blythe Masters account.
JPMorgan is in the process of selling its commodities division, following scrutiny in the press and among Congress and regulators of banks' commodities trading activities. Banks aren't technically supposed to be in the commodities business, but they have been given waivers for years -- an issue regulators are now reviewing in the face of widespread criticism. Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) have had hugely profitable commodities trading units for more than 20 years, while other banks, including JPMorgan Chase, beefed up commodities trading over the past decade or so. Morgan Stanley has also been making efforts to sell its commodities trading unit, while Goldman Sachs so far has sounded more defiant in its efforts to stay in the business. Representatives from several banks, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup (C) are on the CFTC advisory committee, as is typical with financial industry regulators. The committee also includes representatives of other companies and organizations that have been critical of the banks' dominance, such as the nonprofit Better Markets and the hedge fund Citadel. The presence of JPMorgan and Masters, however, apparently had too much of a fox guarding the hen house cast for readers of online financial news, given that JPMorgan in July reached a $410 million settlement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over allegations of rigging electricity markets in California and the Midwest from September 2010 through November 2012. There is also the fact that Masters herself has become a lightning rod for criticism in the wake of the financial crisis. She was number 65 in a 2009 Vanity Fair list of "100 to Blame" for the economic mess and the subject of a Bloomberg profile last year entitled "Blythe Masters, JPMorgan's Credit Derivatives Guru, Is Not Sorry." Acting CFTC Chairman Mark Wetjen formulated the members of the committee and the Commission completed a vote Thursday to approve the appointments, said CFTC spokesman Steve Adamske. "We reach out to a wide range of different opinions from industry from academics to experts in the field to give us advice on what is going on in the derivatives marketplace and the futures marketplace and there's no obligation that we take the advice but we do want to hear what's going on in the industry," Adamske said. Follow @dan_freed
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