Where’s Richard Dawson when you need him? If we were playing Family Feud, and the host, the aforementioned Mr. Dawson, asked me to name the Top 5 things I lose, my list may have included keys, pens, and track of time. $600 million dollars would not have made my list. Just sayin. I’d like to able to lose track of $600 million, but right now I’m stuck losing a Bic. And yet, somehow, MF Global managed to misplace at least $600 million, give or take a few large, right when its back was against the wall and it was trying to sell itself. Last weekend it looked like it was going to be sold, avoiding bankruptcy, until the potential buyer noticed the small change that was missing from the company cookie jar and called the deal off. Within 24 hours they were gone, filing bankruptcy at 10 A.M. E.D.T. this past Monday.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I still get a thrill when I find five bucks in my jacket pocket. And yet, at about 1:30 E.D.T. today, this headline came across the ticker:
*MF GLOBAL'S MISSING CLIENT FUNDS SAID TO BE LOCATED AT JPMORGAN
*MF ACCOUNT WITH $658.8M IN CLIENT FUNDS SAID TO BE AT JPMORGAN
How cool must it be to find almost $659 million just sitting in an account at JP Morgan? Of course, the thrill of finding $659 million is tempered by the knowledge that if you had been able to, oh, I don’t know, not lose it in the first place, maybe you’d still have a functioning company. MF Global is saying that when it was busy liquidating $26 billion in assets to raise cash last week, that some brokers were slow to pay. As an investor for over 17 years, I can vouch for the fact that sometimes the brokers don’t pay right when they should, although it is fairly rare. But what I can’t vouch for is not knowing that you were owed the money in the first place. Simply losing track of over $600 million precisely when you need the money the most is just stupid. Maybe next time they’ll really follow the money.
Read the Wall Street Journal article on the found money and Corzine’s exit here.