Rogue Traders

  • 19 Feb 2014 at 5:17 PM

Pope Francis, Rogue Trader Have A Chat

Rogue trader Jerome Kerviel may have fallen from grace in the banking world. Inside Vatican City, however, he was granted a brief audience Wednesday with Pope Francis himself. Mr. Kerviel, the former Société Générale trader convicted of making unauthorized trades in 2008 that cost his bank €4.9 billion, was among the handful of pilgrims who got to personally meet the pontiff at the close of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, according to his lawyer David Koubbi. Mr. Koubbi declined to comment on what the former trader and the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics had to say to one another. Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said he was unaware if the pope met the disgraced trader, adding that Mr. Kerviel wasn’t “prominent” enough to have been named in the pontiff’s official guest list for the day. Father Lombardi added that the Argentine pontiff regularly meets with convicts inside his residence as part of the pontiff’s outreach to the downtrodden. Mr. Kerviel was one of thousands of people who attended Pope Francis’ weekly public audience on Wednesday. After the general audience came to a close, however, the former trader was part of very a select group of people that get to line up and individually greet the pontiff, a practice known as the baciamano, or “hand kiss.” [WSJ]

A Chinese rogue trader who ‘cheated’ investors on her way to losing £10m in gold trading has been sentenced to death today. The 30-year-old Wang Caipang was handed the sentence by a court in Wenzhou in east China after she borrowed the cash between January and October 2010. Caiping, who must first serve two years in prison, borrowed huge sums of money promising to buy equipment, invest in property and open credit guarantee firms, but instead used the cash to speculate in futures and gold trading along with her elder brother, Wang Guanglin, who is still at large…In China, a sentence of jail time then death usually means the punishment will be reduced to life in prison. [DM via Dealbook]

So far, the trading scandal doesn’t appear to have significantly hurt the confidence of UBS’s wealthy clients, who had pulled hundreds of millions of francs from the bank in 2008 and 2009 after Swiss authorities had to bail out UBS following about $50 billion in securities write-downs. A bruising tax evasion battle with the U.S. also drove clients away. UBS only managed to stem the exodus of clients late last year. [WSJ]

Carsten Kengeter, head of UBS’ investment banking division, sent a rallying message to staff on Sunday night urging them to “move forward forcefully and decisively” following the disclosure of $2.3bn of losses from unauthorised trading…Mr Kengeter e-mailed staff saying the incident should not “undermine our hard won achievements since the crisis.” [FT, related]

Don’t let one bad apple ruin it for the rest of us- be vigilant, my beautiful babies. Read more »

As the users of Mark Zuckerberg’s poking machine among us can attest, there are many things you can expect from your Facebook friends. You can expect that they’ll keep you abreast of every insignificant moment of their entire lives. You can expect that they’ll post public affirmations about being “stronger than this” following a break-up or a shitty lunch. You can expect that, when taking a trip, they’ll let you know the flight number, when they’re on the way to the airport, going through security, sitting at the gate**, waiting to take off, defying the request to power down their phone, losing said battle, touching down on the runway, waiting for their bags and still thinking about the person across the aisle who gave them a weird vibe. You can expect that they’ll upload countless photos of their trip with at least one set devoted to posing (alone) on the beach like they’re shooting the god damn Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, having forced their travel companion to play photog. You can expect that they’ll assume you want to be friends with their household pet. You can expect that they’ll ask you to send positive thoughts into the universe when said pet when it comes down with a common cold.

As a card-carrying member of Facebook, UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was aware of the social contract one enters when becoming friends with people on the ‘book and held up his end of the bargain, dutifully ‘liking’ the status messages of friends forced to sit through 30-minute delays at Heathrow and keeping his fingers crossed that Mr. Fluffernutterbigglesworthjosecanseconiner would recover soon. Which is why it must have stung pretty badly when, after all he’s done for his so-called friends, they couldn’t toss him one bone and help him out of a tight spot. Read more »

The other day we noted that in the course of making fake trades at SocGen, Jerome Kerviel had invented a fake client who he’d named Matt, whose bio Kerviel added little flourishes to such as the fact that Matt apparently loved to play rugby. Today we hear from a non-imaginary colleague of Kerviel’s, none too happy about the fact that he owes her, a bottle of bubbly she’s probably never gonna get. Read more »