Tuesday, July 10, 2012
MF Global redux as regulator says PFGBest client funds missing
Less than nine months after MF Global's collapse sent shockwaves through U.S. futures brokerages, news that more than half the customer funds at Iowa-based PFGBest are missing is threatening to shatter the fragile confidence in the industry.
PFGBest on Monday told its foreign exchange and commodities customers that their accounts had been frozen after an apparent suicide attempt by its chairman. A few hours later, an industry body said about $220 million in customer funds were not in the brokerage's bank accounts.
While PFGBest was less than one-tenth the size of MF Global, the fallout may be larger. If the National Futures Association's report on the missing funds proves accurate, questions about the safety of the brokerage model and whether regulators have again been found wanting are inevitable.