Finance

A hot-headed VIX trader is out at JPMorgan. A series of late-night tweets may have been the breaking point.

Summary List PlacementA JPMorgan trader on one of the hottest desks on Wall Street is out. The departure comes on the heels of the firm learning of a series of late-night tweets over the July 4th holiday weekend that were connected to the trader, two sources familiar with the matter told Insider.  Ishan Malik, a 33-year-old executive director who traded the CBOE Volatility Index for the bank's US equity derivatives desk, is being let go from the firm, the sources told Insider. At JPMorgan as well as previous employers, Malik accumulated a track record of abrasive and hot-headed behavior that alienated...

jamie dimon

Summary List Placement

A JPMorgan trader on one of the hottest desks on Wall Street is out. The departure comes on the heels of the firm learning of a series of late-night tweets over the July 4th holiday weekend that were connected to the trader, two sources familiar with the matter told Insider. 

Ishan Malik, a 33-year-old executive director who traded the CBOE Volatility Index for the bank’s US equity derivatives desk, is being let go from the firm, the sources told Insider.

At JPMorgan as well as previous employers, Malik accumulated a track record of abrasive and hot-headed behavior that alienated people he worked with, three sources familiar with the behavior said. He was known to yell at others on the trading floor and berate brokers, the sources said, and his demeanor evoked a bygone era of hyper-aggressive Wall Street trading floors and clashed with the modern-day professional standards where decorum and relationship building are prized. 

JPMorgan officials became aware of a series of tweets sent in the wee hours Saturday that they came to believe were authored by Malik, and they contributed to his exit from the firm this week, a source familiar with the matter told Insider.

Insider was unable to directly review the tweets. Sources described the tweets, sent around 2 a.m. and deleted later that day, as “venting” and off color, and said that in one instance they referenced a public trade. The tweets did not reveal non-public information. 

A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment. When reached by phone Thursday, Malik declined to comment. Reached later by text, he disputed the information and characterization in this story but declined to comment further. 

The company’s code of conduct from bank’s website says employees “must use good judgment when making personal statements in public, including on your personal social media accounts.”

It further states that employees “may not opine on or provide information relating to our Firm’s business or your role or job responsibilities in a public forum unless you are specifically authorized to do so” and that “comments should not have an adverse impact on our Firm.”

Sources told Insider that violating the code of conduct would not automatically lead to dismissal and that infractions are handled on a case-by-case basis and take into account additional context, such as an employee’s history at the firm. 

Malik joined JPMorgan as a VIX trader in 2019 after nearly three years at BNP Paribas. Before that he worked at Thiel Capital and Wells Fargo, according to his Linkedin profile

His exit is notable in part because JPMorgan is the top equities shop on the Street — it led all banks with $13 billion in 2020 revenues — and its US equity derivatives team has to this point escaped the talent war for volatility traders comparatively unscathed.

Equity derivatives has been one of the hottest trading areas across Wall Street over the past year, and after a record run for many bank volatility traders in 2020, buy-side investment firms have aggressively hired from sell-side shops including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, contributing to an inter-bank game of musical chairs

Spencer Cross, an executive director who left JPMorgan in May to run US index trading at Bank of America, is the only veteran trader hired away from the firm’s US equity derivatives desk so far this year.

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