Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi
Treasury Today January 2006 magazine cover Order Now

January 2006

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Editorial

Just a clerical mistake

We had a phone call on Monday 12th December asking why we had not turned up for our Christmas party. The people at the venue thought we had a booking for the previous Friday. We thought we were booked in for the following Friday, the 16th.

There had been a simple mistake. Neither we nor the venue had spotted that we had been talking about different dates. In the casual exchange of emails confirming the arrangements the date had only been referred to in passing. If we had filled in booking forms the discrepancy in the dates might have been more obvious. There would have been a process that would have led to the mistake being discovered. Luckily the venue agreed to re-arrange at no extra cost.

Then a few days later the financial press reported another simple mistake. Mizuho Securities in Tokyo entered a sale order on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to sell 610,000 J-com shares at Y1 each rather than one share at Y610,000. This simple mistake did have cost implications. It is expected to cost Mizuho Securities in the region of Y40bn (€2860m) - an amount that was limited by the stock exchange system lowstop price cutting in to the trade. There had been no process and no systems within Mizuho to catch this rogue trade. Nor was there a friendly dealer to say that they were getting it wrong.

What is striking is that in both cases there was a complete lack of any checking and any processes to catch mistakes. So there are lessons to be learned. As we start the New Year we are evaluating where we might be exposed to similar risk. Perhaps you should be doing the same. Do your systems have any limits in place that would prevent rogue trades?

Now do excuse me, but I must just go and check on the 430 subscriptions we seem to have taken on at €1 each!

New Year Greetings to all our readers from the team at Treasury Today.