Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On well-oiled efficient markets

Sometimes it's the small anecdotes that best illustrate the failures of grand doctrines. For those still wedded to the "efficient markets" doctrine used to justify the willy-nilly flow of untaxed, unregulated financial capital across borders, it might be illuminating to read this little FT story:

"The Financial Services Authority fined Steven Perkins, a former oil futures broker at the London-based PVM brokerage, £72,000 ($108,000) for “market abuse” after he took a “very significant” bet of more than $500m in Brent crude oil.

He accessed the market using an internet-based trading platform from his laptop in the middle of the night. The regulator said Mr Perkins’ explanation for his trading on 29 and 30 June, 2009, was that he was drunk after drinking “heavily throughout the weekend” on a company’s golf party.

He continued drinking afterwards, he told the FSA. “Mr Perkins’ account ... is that he was drunk and was in an alcohol induced blackout.”

The case made headlines last year as Mr Perkins’ trading pushed Brent prices to more than $73 a barrel, the highest level of the year up to that date."

Light-touch London: don't you just love it?


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