Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Blame the Computers for $141.5 Million Mistake, Says MF Global

During the early hours of Wednesday morning, February 27, Evan Dooley, a registered representative in the Memphis-based branch office of MF Global (MF-$19.14), trading in the wheat futures market in his personal account, substantially exceeded his authorized trading limit. Mr. Dooley bet the price of wheat would fall. It did not.

They blame television they blame rave scene
Blame video nasties and computer games

The Bermuda-based futures brokerage blamed a "failure in one of the company's retail order entry systems," as the culprit that allowed the rogue trader to establish the positions in his own account.

Blame poverty parents consumer greed
Lack of education but dont blame me

The next day MF Global liquidated Dooley’s positions, incurring a loss of $141.5 million—the amount of the loss, recorded on the books as a bad debt provision, exceeds the net income—in aggregate—for the first nine-months of FY 2008, ended December 31, of $13.52 million, or $0.12 per share.

Dont blame me
Dont blame me
Dont blame me
~ English Thrash band, The Exploited (Disc No. 3 Don’t Blame Me (audio clip
) , Beat the Bastard)

Management now believes it has made "the appropriate adjustments to its order entry systems to prevent a recurrence of unauthorized trading of this type in the future." Yet, on March 2, CEO Kevin Davis said MF Global had
engaged the services of third-party risk technology consultants to review its relevant order entry systems and its overall financial risk environment.

Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great. ~ Italian diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)

Despite management’s recent
open market purchases of MF Global common stock, investors do not seem overly confident in the company’s risk-management initiatives, for the share price is off about 35 percent from the February 27 trading close of $29.28 a share.

In the Company’s May 2007 IPO
Registration Statement filed with the SEC, MF Global listed three key risks, among others, as material to its operational climate: client trading volumes, changes in interest rate spreads, and competition from electronic trade exchanges. Future regulatory filings might want to include ‘rogue’ trading.

Editor David J. Phillips does not hold a financial interest in MF Global. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MF Global has more bad news coming. The gossip among UK traders is that there may be other claims of fraud against the company. It clearly needs to get its house in order