The funny side
US$6bn finger trouble
It’s the kind of accident you wish happened to you. But some rather pointed questions were no doubt asked at Deutsche Bank this month, when one of their traders accidentally wired $6bn to the wrong account.
The lucky recipient of this “fat finger” trade? A hedge fund which, according to the
Financial Times, returned the cash the very next day. The $6bn trade was processed by a junior trader while his boss was on holiday. The newspaper says this mess-up raises fresh questions about Deutsche’s risk management, especially since every trade is supposed to be subject to the “four-eyes principle”, which means that all transactions have to be reviewed by someone else.
But Deutsche is not alone, as the FT points out. Among other notable blunders at large institutions is a mess-up that took place when a trader from UBS Warburg tried to sell 16 shares in Japanese advertising firm Dentsu for ¥600 000, hours before UBS was meant to lead Dentsu’s initial public offering.
The problem was that he got confused and sold 610 000 shares in Dentsu at ¥6 instead. When UBS tried to cancel the order, it was almost too late, and 64 915 shares had already been sold at a huge discount. To cap the error, UBS then had to buy back the stock, which led to it losing $100m.
South African companies are no stranger to flimsy excuses for staff calling in sick.
But it seems that we’re only in the amateur league, judging from some of the more fanciful excuses dreamt up by delinquent employees in the US, according to the Chicago-based jobs website CareerBuilder.
Here are some of the more creative excuses dreamt up by staff at various companies: My cat is stuck inside my car dashboard. I have to go the beach because my doctor said I need more vitamin D.
I broke my arm trying to grab a falling sandwich. My grandmother poisoned me with ham. I poked myself in the eye while combing my hair this morning.
Who knows, perhaps those excuses were even true. But this seems unlikely, for many reasons, not least of which is that the CareerBuilder survey shows, rather alarmingly, that 38% of people have at one stage in their life called in sick when they were feeling perfectly fine.
The most popular months for falling “sick” is December, and the most common cause for faking illness is to spend time with family (68%). Which is at least more a noble reason than catching up on Game of Thrones.
When Facebook bragging fails It shouldn’t be any surprise that in the criminal community, there’s no shortage of people who aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. A few years back, for example, one crook broke into a Cape Town house and decided to try the green wetsuit he found inside. But when the owners arrived home and caught him, he took off, still wrapped in the outfit. Apprehending a man sprinting through a quiet neighbourhood in a wetsuit proved not to be terribly difficult.
This month, however, an Ohio couple did themselves no favours after robbing the Savings Bank in Ashville. Clearly proud of their feat, they uploaded pictures to Facebook of themselves posing with bundles of cash, reported USA Today. In one picture, for example, the one suspect, 28-year old John E Mogan II, was seen stuffing a wad of bills into his mouth. All of which makes the evidence-gathering process a tad easier.