November 16, 2012

Jon Corzine Caused MF Global’s Bankruptcy and Put Customer Funds at Risk.

The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee investigation into the collapse of MF Global has published it's report, the publication is here at their website, or download the PDF by clicking here. The title of this post above is their first finding and involves the following statement and recommendation:

  1. The futures market cannot function unless customers are confident that FCMs will safeguard their funds. [naturally]
  2. To restore investor confidence in the futures markets and help ensure that an FCM does not misuse customer funds in the future, the Subcommittee recommends that Congress consider enacting legislation that imposes civil liability on the officers and directors that sign a FCM’s financial statements or authorize specific transfers from customer segregated accounts for regulatory shortfalls of segregated customer funds.

The report mentions that "some of the individual futures customers were farm co-operatives representing up to 35,000 farmers." Try explaining to the farmers that Jon Corzine isn't personally liable for the downfall of MF Global, and somehow could escape prosecution? I can imagine those 35,000 farmers chasing Mr Corzine out of his home and onto the tines of a pitchfork. It's a readable report, its explains how MFG used customer funds to prop up the proprietary business, including transferring $700m to the UK subsidiary to back up margin calls on 'foreign' (non-US) exchanges. This $700m remains in the UK and it's fate will be decided in court in April 2013. The big headline was the missing $1.6bn, a note towards the end explains:

To date, Giddens [a Trustee] has recovered approximately 80 percent of the segregated customer property missing from domestic securities accounts and between 60 and 90 percent of the segregated customer property missing from domestic futures accounts.

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