It’s hard to believe that with only 3% of the world’s stock market capitalization, two of the three largest international trading losses of the past half decade came to pass in our own backyard. Here’s a complete list of “the Top 20 trading disasters” (hat tip to Bloomberg via Canaccord):
Société Générale (OTCPK:SCGLY) (2008)
It lost 4.9 billion euros ($7.2 billion) before taxes after trader went beyond permitted limits on European stock index futures.
Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO) (2007)
Wrong-way bets on natural gas led to a pre-tax loss of about $680 million.
Amaranth Advisors LLC (2006)
Trader Brian Hunter’s bad bets on natural gas triggered $6.6 billion of losses.
Refco Inc. (2005)
It declared bankruptcy after hiding $430 million of debt.
China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp. (2004)
It lost $550 million on speculative oil-futures trades, forcing debt restructuring.
Allied Irish Banks Plc (AIB)(2002)
A trader hid $691 million in currency market losses.
Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE:PAA) (1999)
It lost $160 million because of unauthorized crude-oil trading by an employee.
Long-Term Capital (1998)
It lost $4 billion after a debt Management default by Russia.
Peregrine Investments Holdings Ltd.
1998 It collapsed from at least $300 million of debt bought from insolvent companies
National Westminster Bank Plc (1997)
It disclosed $125 million charge to cover options-trading loss
Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (1996)
It fired fund manager Peter Young for unauthorized trading and paid $279 million to bail out investors
Sumitomo Corp.(OTCPK:SSUMY) (1996)
It disclosed a $2.6 billion loss on unauthorized copper trades by Yasuo Hamanaka.
Daiwa Bank (1995)
It disclosed a $1.1 billion loss from unauthorized trades.
Barings Plc (1995)
It collapsed after trader Nick Leeson racked up $1.4 billion in losses.
Orange County, California (1994)
It lost $1.7 billion from debt and derivatives used to expand its investment fund.
Kidder Peabody & Co. (1994)
It took a $210 million charge to reflect what it said were false bond trading profits by trader Joseph Jett.
Trader Juan Pablo Davila lost more than $200 million speculating on copper.
Metallgesellschaft AG (1993)
It lost more than $1.5 billion trading oil futures contracts.
Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. (1990)
The company filed for bankruptcy after pleading guilty to charges of insider trading and stock manipulation.
Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) (1987)
A mortgage trader was accused of racking up $377 million loss in unauthorized trades.