The First Republic Bank headquarters in San Francisco, California, USA, on Saturday, April 29, 2023. First Republic Bank shares fell as much as 54% in extended New York trading on Friday on speculation of that would be seized by regulators as regional US stocks lenders come under pressure from deposit drains and weakening investment.

Jason Henry/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the conduct of First Republic Bank executives before the government seized and sold the lender to JPMorgan Chase, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The SEC is investigating whether any members of First Republic’s then-executive team improperly traded inside information, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the investigation has not been disclosed publicly.

It could not immediately be determined which former executives are the focus of the investigation. No one previously or currently at the bank has been charged with misconduct and the investigation could end without anyone being charged with misconduct.

Representatives for the SEC and JPMorgan declined to comment.

First Republic was seized by regulators and sold to JPMorgan on Monday in a government-led deal after a drama-filled weekend.

Separately, the SEC has been investigating the trading activity of Silicon Valley Bank executives before its collapse in March, Bloomberg News reported.

“That the SEC is investigating First Republic is not a surprise,” said Richard Hong, a former SEC trial attorney who is now a partner at the New York law firm Morrison Cohen. “My expectation is that the SEC will look into a variety of issues related to insider trading and disclosures.”

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