Nice job, boys.
Nice job, boys.
To paraphrase JR, "Well, Citi, I find your $11.6 million worth of philantrophy awe inspiring" (Dallas quote-bank here).
This is one story crying out for the detail behind what the arbitrators called "serious misconduct".
It is curious, is it not, that an investment bank which has not, for some time, been updating its ledgers with feathered quills and ink via candle light can readily admit its financial control systems were so poor that a single trader was able to get around them for two years; expose his employer to €50 billion worth of risk; and, finally, lose about a tenth of that. This is, apparently, not a particularly weighty definition of negligence.
Certainly the very frank, honest confession of control ineptitude probably, just a little bit, helped Société Générale's case against Mr Kerviel. Honesty is the best policy. Even when it means saying your controls did not detect, at minimum, 1,071 bogus trades. Not that France's Commission Bancaire was overly impressed back in 2008 with the mea culpa.
Of course, no criminal act by a trader ought to be sympathised with in the slightest. Someone must
set a precedent bring them to book. But requiring, on top of a prison term (pending appeal), that a fine equal to the €4.9 bn loss suffered by Société Générale be borne by Mr Kerviel looks a tad daft. Asking him to put in place beef up the internal controls would have been a better long term investment.
And shouldn't they at least net off the €1.4 bn the same hidden Kerviel deals made SG in q4 2007?
Le Monde has a thoughtful audio montage here.
- JM Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936. I forget which page.