Labor Department Grants Banks Multiyear Waivers to Manage Retirement Plans

By Andrew Ackerman Features Dow Jones Newswires

Five global banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., can continue managing corporate retirement plans in the wake of recent guilty pleas to criminal charges, under new waivers announced by the Trump administration on Thursday.

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The waivers, set by the Labor Department, are the latest fallout of the banks' criminal convictions in market-manipulation schemes, which the firms collectively paid billions of dollars to settle in recent years. Without the waivers, the banks' asset-management units would have been disqualified from managing retirement plans under U.S. law, even though the misconduct in question occurred in other areas of each of the banks.

The relief allows each of the firms to continue managing pensions plans and individual-retirement accounts, a significant source of business for each of the firms.

In addition to JPMorgan and Citigroup, the waivers also apply to units of Barclays PLC, UBS Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG.

The Obama administration, in its waning days, approved one-year waivers for each of the banks and proposed granting the firms five-year reprieves from the restrictions.

Thursday's move by the Trump administration completes those longer-term waivers, though it struck a tougher posture than its predecessors: two of the banks, Deutsche Bank and UBS, will only receive three-year waivers. The administration said that it shortened the waivers for those two firms because they had more than one criminal conviction.

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Spokesmen for J.P. Morgan, Barclays and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Spokesmen for UBS and Citigroup didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to Andrew Ackerman at andrew.ackerman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 28, 2017 16:45 ET (21:45 GMT)