In the 2+ weeks since MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection, much has been written about Jon Corzine’s penchant for making wild bets, which worked out fine while he was at Goldman Sachs, where risk managers are empowered to stand up to employees putting the firm/bonus pool at risk, but not so much at MF-G, where he was a man on a mission. If JSC could turn back time…he’d still be JSC and he still would’ve had that little voice, down his plums, telling him to risk it all on Eurozone debt, which in turn would’ve caused various people to freak out, start a run on the bank and drive it into its current state of affairs. Separately though? This business with the customer funds that were desegregated from the firm’s own money and which are currently “missing,” despite several manhunts and “magical mystery tours” to find it? It didn’t have to be that way and maybe it wouldn’t have been if someone had been forced to dust off his series 24 books and review the section on “customer accounts,” before cramming into a test center and sitting for the exam alongside all the other scrubs, sweating through his sweater vest over getting at least 70% correct.
Making it to the top of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. apparently means that you never have to take another broker exam.The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. gave former MF Global Inc. chief executive Jon Corzine a waiver on Series 24 and Series 7 exams when he returned to the financial sector to head the firm in March 2010. The agency did, however, make Mr. Corzine take a Limited Futures, or Series 32, exam. Before MF Global, Mr. Corzine last worked on Wall Street in May 1999, when he served as chairman of Goldman Sachs & Co. He then took an 11-year break from the industry and was elected to a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey in 2000, and then was elected governor in 2005…Forbes.com first reported last week that Mr. Corzine passed the Series 7 exam in 1975 and the Series 24 exam in 1982 but had not sat for either one prior to taking the helm of MF Global. Finra says on its website that investment professionals must retake their exams after being out of the business for more than two years, the story notes. Finra spokeswoman Nancy Condon confirmed that Finra gave Mr. Corzine a waiver.
Perhaps if it was known that Corzine couldn’t correctly answer the question: What percentage of customer money must be covered in a segregated account? A) 200% B)100% C) 75% D) Meh…he would’ve at least been forced to take a night class refresher course. But, hindsight, etc. Tell you what– next Wall Street gig he gets, he promises to brush up. Deal?