Perhaps the most surprising thing about a man who was able to move trillion dollar markets in a single bet, is that we know so little about him. Especially when everyone has known what he was up to for weeks.
Brunio Iksil's name first started to show up on newswires almost exactly a month ago, when Bloomberg first reported on April 6 that the JPMorgan trader had established such a massive position in credit derivatives that he was single handedly distorting market prices, a near impossible task in a market of that size. He was so overexposed that hedge funds and other big investors were lining up against him, taking the other side of his bets and waiting for him to inevitably fail. As Business Insider pointed out, those "rivals' may have been the impetus for the news stories. Drawing more attention to his unstable position certainly wouldn't have hurt their fortunes.
Some people were immediately concerned. The bloggers at ZeroHedge chalked it up to JPMorgan's king of the mountain arrogance:
They lie about everything, fully aware they have perpetual immunity because they are more powerful than the Fed (just recall Jamie Dimon's symbolic spitting in the face of Ben Bernanke), they are a tri-party repo dealer thus in the center of the entire shadow banking system, and have the biggest single-bank derivative exposure in the world, at $70 trillion as of December 31.
JPMorgan is modern finance. And because of that they can and will get away with everything, lying on prime time TV most certainly included.
Others were more charitable ("To me this all seems like much ado about nothing"), but the biggest vote of confidence came from Iksil's boss, Jamie Dimon. A week after the story broke, Dimon called the whole thing a “tempest in a teapot.” His CFO Doug Braunstein said the positions were ”consistent with both, I think, the spirit and written rules of the Volcker rule as it is written today " and the firm was "very comfortable with the positions we have." That was April 13. Since that time we now know the firm lost more than $2 billion and that number could go higher.