Friday, October 28, 2011
- Small Enough To Fail
Jon Corzine's MF Global goes over the waterfall.
I don't know Jon Corzine personally, but the people I know who do, don't think much of him. My personal knowledge of him comes from watching his time in public as Chief at Goldman, his single term as NJ governor, and the insider stories I've heard through industry contacts etc. I can't relate stories that were told to me in confidence, but if they're true then he's as reprehensible a person as I can imagine, and I'll cheer for his failure wherever it may come from.
He clearly believes that one set of rules applies to him and a totally different set of rules, that he and his fellow cognoscenti should be the ones to write, should apply to everyone else. He left NJ is desperate financial distress thanks in no small part to his 'intimate' relationship with the labor unions, and now he's run MF Global into the ground as well.
According to a contact of mine who's personally acquainted with him, he's 8 parts ego for every 1 part intelligence, and he has no compunction about breaking the rules so long as he doesn't think he'll be caught. Then there is the industry story of him and his team making use of a certain spreadhseet from the LTCM default, and the stunning profits that their 'purely coincidental' positions made in the following weeks. Put all this together and it paints a picture of a man who has virtually every major character flaw of any 20th century western man, and none of his virtues.
I think it's a shame that MF Global has to go the way of the dodo, but at least they aren't too big to fail. So the bad actors will be purged, the assets will be sold and the world will continue to spin on it's axis. But as far as I'm concerned, none of this could happen to a nicer guy.