Interview with Rogue Trader Jerome Kerviel

A fascinating interview with “rogue” Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel. Some of the best excerpts  are below (emphasis is mine) but the entire interview is worth reading. “I Was Merely a Small Cog in the Machine“.

Kerviel: Nobody knows everything that’s hidden in the balance sheets of banks. In fact, they are completely impenetrable. To invest €150 million, it only takes a second. For €1 billion, you need four seconds. Things go so quickly with computers that you lose any sense of the amounts involved. The international market is so big that it absorbs all orders in just a matter of seconds. The wheel continues to spin faster and faster. It’s insane.

SPIEGEL: During the trial, your attorney said: “Kerviel was formed, formatted and deformed by Societe Generale. He is their creature.” Isn’t that taking things a bit far?

Kerviel: I only know one thing: Everything I learned about the banking business, I learned in the banking towers of the Societe.

SPIEGEL: Can banks really control people like you?

Kerviel: Of course. But you have to want to. Having more controls and regulations goes against efforts to pursue consistently higher profits at a time when all banks want to maximize their return on equity.

Source: Der Spiegel


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