Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Contents - edited by Rob Rose

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.

Play­ing tru­ant

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.

Pic­ture: iS­TOCK

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