Our weekly newsletter is out, and now that it’s been a year after MF Global declared bankruptcy and left the futures industry in a state of disarray, where are we? Do we really understand what transpired? Have we made the reforms necessary to prevent it from happening again? Here, we take a look at how the story played out, the reforms we’ve instituted to date, and the steps we need to take moving forward, both as an industry and as individual investors, to avoid a campy sequel.
This time of year, our homes and streets are swathed with cotton cobwebs, goblins and ghouls as we indulge in the chills and thrills of the latest horror movies and ghost stories of the year. The monsters beneath our bed come to life in polyester costumes and garish face paint, and macabre goes mainstream. It’s a time where, instead of running from our fears, we embrace them – if only momentarily – for a rush of adrenaline and a few good laughs.
Except, last Halloween, the worst fears of the futures industry played out in agonizing slow motion without the superficial sheen of the holiday season. Amidst the candy corn and taffy apples came a sharp blow to investor confidence. The demon plaguing our central cast of characters did not don a cape nor boast a set of horns; he wore a suit and scraggly beard. Victims did not lose their lives, but some lost their livelihoods.
It has been a year since MF Global began a maddening descent into bankruptcy and scandal, but for many of us, it feels as though it was just yesterday. The story has, by and large, faded from the headlines, but the lessons of the past remain poignant today, and there is still much work to be done. We take a moment here to look back over the past year at what happened, how things have changed since, and what challenges await us on the horizon.
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