Jerome Kerviel


DEFINITION of 'Jerome Kerviel'

A trader for French securities firm Société Générale that was charged with losing more than $7 billion in company assets by conducting a series of unauthorized and false trades between 2006 and early 2008. When company managers discovered that Kerviel had conducted tens of billions of dollars' worth of unauthorized trades, they rushed to close out the open positions (most of which were specialized equity arbitrage trades) and contain the extent of the fraud. Several of the trades were closed out with heavy losses due to a falling market at the time of sale.

BREAKING DOWN 'Jerome Kerviel'

Kerviel had several years' experience in Société's back office, and was well-versed in the company policies for approving and regulating trading among its brokers. Kerviel's losses are yet another case study in rogue trading, despite all the modern regulations and technological advances designed to prevent such things from ever happening.

Kerviel was not considered a well-renowned trader by any extent; in fact, when the story broke many openly wondered how such a person could obtain the authority over such huge sums of capital without the company noticing. Kerviel hid his early gains by creating fake, offsetting trades in the system's computers and logs. He had extensive knowledge of the computers and systems used in the company, which was essential to his trading scheme.

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