There's a lot to read in the bankruptcy trustee's report on MF Global's collapse, which weighs in at 124 pages, plus another 50 or so in the appendixes.
Louis Freeh, the former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who is now the bankruptcy trustee for MF Global, certainly knows how to tell a good story. For a government report, it is pretty compelling stuff ... and very harsh on Jon Corzine. The report concludes that Corzine and his team engaged in "negligent conduct" that brought down the firm.
One detail that caught my eye early in the report is the way Corzine described how he was going to push the firm to do much more proprietary trading. Before Corzine joined the firm, MF Global was mostly an agency shop, executing trades for clients, but not doing very much in the way of prop trading. Corzine, who was a Goldman-trained trader, thought that this was basically leaving money on the table. He wanted MF Global to do prop trading in every financial asset it touched.
One thing you'll notice in his explanation of this transformation on a May 20, 2010, earnings call is that he never uses the words "proprietary trading." In fact, he only uses the word "trading" once, and then as an adjective modifying the word "profits."