MF Global's Collapse: 30 Shocking Numbers

Today marks four months since commodities broker MF Global (OTC: MFGLQ) filed for bankruptcy in the wake of credit rating downgrades and loss of investor confidence due to the firm's massive exposure to European sovereign debt. The Motley Fool covered the story with an award-winning series of articles, The Astonishing Collapse of MF Global. If you haven't read the series, the 30 numbers below sum up one of the most extraordinary episodes in the history of the financial markets:

$141.5 million: Losses experienced by MF Global in February 2008 as a result of a rogue wheat trader's actions.

1.5 years: Tenure as CEO of Bernard Dan, Jon Corzine's predecessor at MF Global.

10.4%: MF Global's one-day share price gain on the news of Jon Corzine's appointment.

1 percentage point: Interest rate "kicker" MF Global promised investors in August 2011 on a $300 million bond issue should Jon Corzine leave the company "due to his appointment to a federal position by the President of the United States."

10: Number of years since Jon Corzine had last worked in the financial markets when he accepted the CEO position at MF Global.

$2 per share: MF Global's cumulative losses during Jon Corzine's tenure.

$7.28 per share: MF Global's average share price between the announcement of his appointment and the firm's bankruptcy filing.

25: Number of years since Jon Corzine had had day-to-day trading responsibilities when he began putting on a proprietary position in European sovereign repo-to-maturity (RTM) transactions.

6 or fewer: Number of months before Jon Corzine's European sovereign repo trade size exceeded $1 billion.

$6.3 billion: Net size of the European sovereign RTM position at the time of MF Global's last quarterly earnings presentation.

$1.2 billion: MF Global shareholders' equity at the end of its last full quarter.

30-to-1: MF Global's leverage factor at the end of its last full quarter prior to the bankruptcy.

Baa with negative outlook: MF Global's credit rating category and rating outlook from the time of John Corzine's appointment until Moody's downgraded the firm, seven days prior to its bankruptcy. (A negative outlook "indicates the likely direction of an issuer's next rating change in the medium term.")

Ba: Obligations in this rating category "are judged to have speculative elements and are subject to substantial credit risk" ("junk" status).

15%: The proportion of U.S. banks and securities firms that were rated lower than MF Global.

48%: MF Global's stock price decline on Oct. 25, the day it announces its financial results for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

$310 million: Total margin calls MF Global received on Oct. 28, its last day of operations. (Margin calls are requests for additional funds or collateral from counterparties and/or exchanges in the face of increasing losses on a position.)

$198 million: MF Global's market value on Oct. 28, its last day of operations.

587: Number of days Jon Corzine had been CEO on the day of MF Global's bankruptcy filing.

Less than 1 year: Former Chief Financial Officer Henri Steenkamp's total experience as a CFO (of any company) at the time of MF Global's bankruptcy.

35: Henri Steenkamp's age at the time of MF Global's bankruptcy.

At least 70: Total number of years of financial services experience represented on MF Global's Board of Directors.

30 days: Time frame of a contingency plan drawn up by MF Global management to respond to a hypothetical credit rating downgrade to BB+ or below. (BB+ is the highest speculative grade ["junk"] rating.)

5: Number of days MF Global survived once S&P downgraded MF Global to BBB-. (BBB-, being the lowest investment-grade rating, is higher than BB+).

2,870: Total number of MF Global employees at the time of the firm's bankruptcy.

250: Number of employees still employed by the company to assist in the bankruptcy process in London and Chicago.

60%: Proportion of MF Global's revenues paid out to its employees at the time Jon Corzine joined the firm.

62%: Proportion of MF Global's revenues paid out to its employees during its last quarter of operations.

88 cents on the dollar: The top of the price range being paid for claims belonging to MF Global's U.S. customers.

70-77 cents on the dollar: Price at which some of MF Global's U.K. customers' claims have changed hands.

$1.6 billion: Shortfall in MF Global commodities customers' funds as a result of the bankruptcy.

$700 million: Customer funds that remain trapped in the U.K. (MF Global UK is undergoing a separate administration process under the aegis of accountants KPMG.)

Fool contributor Alex Dumortier holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. You can follow him on Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (19)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 29, 2012, at 4:41 PM, Quaker08 wrote:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this article!

  • Report this Comment On February 29, 2012, at 5:55 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    you mean gw bush or dick cheney didn't have anything to do with this fiasco? lol

  • Report this Comment On February 29, 2012, at 6:54 PM, Stonewashed wrote:

    Yet, he still is looking for office space and may have found it within John Carris Investment Bank. John Carris coincidentally is shilling for AMP who coincidentally has as their director Maggie Moran and was Mr. Corzine's deputy chief of staff when he was New Jersey governor, according to a March 2011 securities filing by the company. Another director, Nancy Dunlap, oversaw "all personal investment and legal affairs of Mr. Corzine" since 1999, according to the same filing.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/01/jon-corzine-is-shopping...

    Meanwhile I got a solication from John Carris, actually several, that was "going to let me in a deal" to win their "trust". Even after telling them to pack sand, the very next day, they sent an email through the same sales agent, introducing themselves to me all over again.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/01/jon-corzine-is-shopping...

  • Report this Comment On February 29, 2012, at 8:43 PM, Merton123 wrote:

    The biggest Irony is what MF Global did was 100% legal as a commodity broker. The contract that MF global had with their clients gave MF global the right to use clients money in investing in qualified securities which included sovereign debt. When the bets made with clients money on sovereign debt (i.e., Greece) went south all the money evaporated legally. This by the way is a common trade practice for all commodity brokers. Caveat Emptor - buyer beware, read the fine print of your brokerage account before opening an account.

  • Report this Comment On February 29, 2012, at 10:22 PM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    <<The biggest Irony is what MF Global did was 100% legal as a commodity broker... When the bets made with clients money on sovereign debt (i.e., Greece) went south all the money evaporated legally.>>

    That isn't what happened. Customer funds weren't invested in the European sovereign RTM; instead, it appears that the company used customer funds to meet margin calls on the proprietary trades, which is completely *illegal*.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 10:29 AM, valari25 wrote:

    Hasn't Corzine been right on his european debt call so far? MF Global couldn't survive the margin calls, it wasn't that the bonds were defaulted on, right?

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 11:02 AM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    @valari25

    You are correct.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 1:37 PM, valari25 wrote:

    So if people take a deep breath and don't margin call MF Global out of business, we could have been talking about Corzine, The Legend, the way people talk about Paulson and his housing crash call that made him billions?

    How would that have played out, if MF Global is given the year to maturity on all those bonds? They would be collecting coupon payments along the way, right?

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 3:13 PM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    <<we could have been talking about Corzine, The Legend, the way people talk about Paulson and his housing crash call that made him billions?>>

    My guess is that we never would have heard about it at all.

    <<How would that have played out, if MF Global is given the year to maturity on all those bonds? They would be collecting coupon payments along the way, right?>>

    Yes to the second question, but I'm not sure you can conclude from that. Because someone walks through a minefield unscathed does not make it a good idea.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 3:14 PM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    *Yes to the second question, but I'm not sure what you can conclude from that.

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2012, at 11:26 AM, PianoguyScott wrote:
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