Unlocking Real Value Blog

Dear MF Global Board of Directors:

Dear MF Global Board of Directors:

What were you thinking? Have you been asleep since 2008? Do you think that just because John Corzine has an impressive resume you should have given him carte blanche to leverage your firm like that? Did you ever consider  the more than 1,000 employees, and their families, that you have now negatively impacted? Where were the institutional and compliance controls that would have alerted you to the co-mingling of client asses with your own? Really?

(I waited a few weeks before I wrote this to cool down … But I ┬áreally haven’t!)

These are just a few of the questions that I would like to pose to both the Board and to John Corzine. While I don’t expect them to necessarily think about the rest of the industry before they plan their strategy, what they have effectively done is give all of us who work in the industry another black eye just at the worst possible time – while arguments over the proper level of regulation still abound and the “Wall Street” v. “Main Street” debate intensifies.

What is honestly surprising to me is that this entire affair hasn’t gotten more bad press – because it certainly is a poster child for those that want to regulate Wall Street more and accentuate the divisiveness that now permeates our country. I’m really not sure why this lack of outrage has been the case – especially when the story first broke. The past two weeks has been more explainable, as the scandal at Penn State has made all other stories pale in comparison.

But at some point this story will come back to more prominence. The reputation of John Corzine has probably been tarnished beyond repair; so has to some extent the reputation of Goldman Sachs, as the actions of its former employees always reflect back on the firm. But the saddest thing is that some in the industry have learned little from the events of the past few years – and now thousands of employees and customers are suffering. It is now reported that more than $1.2 billion is missing and may never be recovered.

What were you thinking?

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