J.P. Morgan Chase will pay $25 million to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into unlawful allocations of initial public offerings, according to an SEC announcement yesterday. “This case is yet another example of the commission’s resolve to vigorously enforce those rules designed to ensure that the IPO allocation process and IPO market are fair to all investors,” says SEC Enforcement Director Stephen Cutler. The SEC had accused J.P. Morgan of tempting recipients of hot IPO allocations to buy more stock in the market in order to push the price up further, by holding out the prospect of handsome allocations in future IPOs. This practice is popularly known as “laddering.” J.P. Morgan has neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing. “We are pleased that we and the SEC have settled these charges, and put this matter behind us,” said a J.P. Morgan spokesman.