Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Why Do Rogue Traders Lose So Much Money?

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Can you believe it? Another very, very unluckly rogue trader has lost billions.

Rogue traders are a very unlucky bunch. They seem to be terrible traders.

Trading desks around the world pull in billions for banks. But every time a trader goes 'rogue,' he winds up losing money.

The news today is that a rogue trader may have caused a $2 billion loss at the Swiss bank UBS.

Of course, these cases raise serious questions about the internal controls at the banks. How is it that a thirty-one year old trader is able to put anything close to $2 billion at risk without the approval of senior management?

Here's how we put a year ago:

The misfortune of the rogues is almost too great to be believed.

Scratch that part about "almost." It is too great to be believed.

There's simply no way that rogue traders always lose money. It's just that when they are making money, their employers don't call them rogue traders. They call them stars, vice-presidents and managing directors.


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