SUPERSTORM SANDY. It is rare for a hurricane to reach as far north as Sandy did, and it was a big one, causing an estimated damage of $62 billion and destroying thousands of homes on the Eastern seaboard. Sadly, its destruction also highlighted that even after 9/11, many trading firms had poor back-up plans and systems.
2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Four years ago we commented on just how endless the 2008 election seemed. This election began pretty much after that one ended as the opposition ditched the honeymoon phase and got downright nasty.
BANKING SCANDALS. That many of the largest banks in the world consistently had been manipulating Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) — the interest rate that is the base for nearly all interest rates — to create trading profits makes other scandals pale by comparison. But just when we thought we could not be shocked by the corruption and above-the-law attitude of major banks, it was revealed that HSBC had been laundering money for Mexican drug cartels and dealing with Iran in violation of sanctions over many years.
2012 DROUGHT. Grain trading volume flourished this summer as a major drought hit the U.S. breadbasket region, causing grain prices to soar. The drought caused price spikes across the grain complex in 2012 and likely will continue to push ag and livestock prices up in 2013.
JEFF SPRECHER, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange. Sprecher has grown ICE from a small over-the-counter trading platform to a global trading juggernaut, especially with the purchase of the granddaddy exchange of them all: The New York Stock Exchange.
RUSS WASENDORF, Chairman and CEO of PFGBest. Wasendorf spent all his time trying to get a seat at the adult table, but it took us 20 years to find out that it was his customers’ money he was throwing around on his varied flights of fancy. He may not have made it as the biggest fraud, but he could qualify for the longest lasting one.
JON CORZINE, former Chairman and CEO of MF Global. While MF Global failed in 2011, the damage it caused the futures industry carried over to 2012, where customers still await funds and Corzine still hasn’t been prosecuted.