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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Webster

Just a matter of time


I recently carried out a straw poll using a somewhat loaded question. “Do you think that Rogue trading is more or less likely in the future?” The response?

A significant number felt that banks were better placed to stop rogues. The overriding belief was that regulation and compliance was now significantly more robust and as a consequence it was much harder to commit fraud.

This opinion appears to be based on the assumption that things will be different in the future and I think that’s too great a leap of faith. Checks and controls are more intense, that’s true, but the motivation is still there. What creates rogues?

Sometimes it’s greed but in many cases it’s the inability to admit to losses combined with a belief that one more roll of the dice will put things right. A game of double or quits ensues with losses being covered up with false trades.

This isn’t new. In other walks of life it’s called gambling and the unfortunate few find it addictive.

This addiction is the danger.

Checks and controls catch mistakes but against the motivated and determined it’s a different situation.

Many rogues show an uncanny aptitude to understand complex processes and systems and use this to their benefit. If there is a bad apple in the barrel it’s very likely contamination will occur.

Are we being lulled into a false sense of security? I think so.

After all it’s been some time since a high profile case. At the moment there’s a lot going on so our guard is naturally down.

My respondents at one level could be right. Detection is probably better than it used to be.

But one thing is for sure it’s only a matter of time before the next “Big One”.

Semper vigilantes.

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