Saturday, May 12, 2012

JPMorgan made some $5bn on Friday using accounting magic called DVA

With all the talk about JPMorgan's losses out of the CIO's office, nobody is discussing the money the firm made on Friday due to the accounting magic called DVA. After all, CIO's positions were (at least in principle) meant to act as an offset to this earnings volatility.

As an example the chart below shows the price action for JPM's newly minted bond (issued just last month). It's a 4% coupon bond maturing in 20 years.

Source: Bloomberg

With roughly $12bn of this bond outstanding, JPMorgan will record a gain of some $350MM based on Friday's price move just for this bond. It's important to note that this bond represents only a fraction of the $2.3 trillion balance sheet funding. Since the firm's long-term debt is some 12% of total liabilities, one can do a quick back of the envelope estimate. A two point drop (which is lower than the bonds above moved on Friday) in JPMorgan's long term bonds results in roughly $5bn in DVA gains. This more than offsets the reported losses on the CIO's portfolio. Welcome to accounting magic.

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