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JPMorgan Chase names new chief risk officer

Ashley Bacon is tasked with improving the bank’s risk management team.

Financial services giant JPMorgan Chase has named 43-year old British executive Ashley Bacon as its new chief risk officer. Bacon will replace John Hogan, who has been on leave since January.

Bacon, who has been associated with the bank since 1993, was appointed as acting chief risk officer in the absence of Hogan.

Bacon will work in close association with the company’s CEO Jamie Dimon. Earlier, he was tasked to deal with the bank’s derivatives bets debacle in May 2012 and steered through a Senate hearing into the issue, reports Financial Times.

Bacon also served the bank in various roles in London, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Bacon told the Financial Times that he would focus on strengthening the risk management team. “It’s partly that we always want rigorous thinking in order to run the company safely, and partly because the regulatory hurdles have been raised, and we have to respond to that.”

Meanwhile, Hogan, who will be back to work on 17 June 2013, will be part of the bank’s operating committee as a chairman of risk.

Dimon in a memo told the staff: “John is a highly talented executive who did a superb job as head of risk when we needed him most, and we respect his decision to return to a different role that will allow him some continued flexibility.”

Since the derivatives debacle that incurred a loss of more than $6.2bn, the bank made a number of changes in its top management that included replacement of CFO and investment banking CEO, and head of the chief investment office.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.