“(He) Poses An Extreme Risk To The Market When Drunk”

Shockingly, this article is not referring to me

Steve Perkins, the oil trader banned by the UK financial regulator for illegally trading $520m in a drunken stupor, is about to resume his career as an energy broker in Switzerland.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Mr Perkins, who was fined £72,000 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on Tuesday, was in Geneva on Wednesday for talks about joining a commodity broker called Starsupply Renewables SA.

The revelation that Mr Perkins is once again poised to trade the global markets after single-handedly moving the oil price by $1.50 in the middle of the night will be deeply embarassing for the FSA.

The regulator said that “Mr Perkins poses an extreme risk to the market when drunk”. However, it admitted last night that it knew he was planning to restart his career in Switzerland – only 24 hours after being banned for five years in the UK.

All this fun began exactly a year ago

It was 7.45am on June 30 last year when the senior, longstanding broker for PVM Oil Futures was contacted by an admin clerk querying why he’d bought 7m barrels of crude in the middle of the night.

I think there was one time I might have been crude in the middle of the night.

The 34-year old broker at first claimed he had spent the night trading alongside a client. But the story began to fall apart when he refused to put the customer in touch with his desk for official approval of the trades.

And the fact that he said the client’s name was “Pink Elephant, LLC” probably didn’t help his case too much, either.

By 10am it emerged that Mr Perkins had single-handedly moved the global price of oil to an eight-month high during a “drunken blackout”. Prices leapt by more than $1.50 a barrel in under half an hour at around 2am – the kind of sharp swing caused by events of geo-political significance. Ten times the usual volume of futures contracts changed hands in just one hour.

The man is my hero.

But on a more sober note, this article also alludes to a problem that many of us who trade futures know: despite all the talk about how poorly regulated US markets are they are, in fact, much better regulated and safer places for investors to trade than European markets; at least the commodities markets are. Look at this:

Having admitted to an alcohol problem and received treatment, Mr Perkins was banned from trading for five years and hit with a £72,000 fine, reduced from £150,000 because of potential financial hardship.

Ummm, maybe it’s my un-nuanced cowboygunclingyness showing, but it seems to me that the farookin’ point of a fine is financial hardship. Here in the States the commodities exchanges have very tight position limits and controls on trading, a lot of which came about after the Hunt Brothers shenanigans in silver, and it’s very hard now to squeeze markets here but in Europe things are much laxer.

5 Responses to ““(He) Poses An Extreme Risk To The Market When Drunk””

  1. Dr Alice says:

    The man makes me look like a piker. The only questionable financial transactions I’ve ever engaged in while intoxicated involved EBay and less than $100. (Rabbit figurines, if you must know. I collect rabbits.)

  2. nightfly says:

    …he was planning to restart his career in Switzerland – only 24 hours after being banned for five years in the UK.

    The Swiss had to act fast, before Obama hired him to run the SEC.

  3. Cullen says:

    Nightfly wins the internets today.

  4. Rob says:

    My drunken spending days usually involved mass quantities of Castle burgers or hot tamales. It’s my Catholic upbringing and the whole guilt/penance thing, I think, because I always paid dearly for it. Financial hardship is nothing next to a feel-like-I’m-fixing-to-die stupor.

  5. Ave says:

    He and Marc Rich can be buddies!

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