The demise of Jon Corzine's trading firm MF Global may be one of those cases where the boss is so busy fighting everyone else's rules that he fails to enforce internal systems.
On the one hand, he doesn't know what happened to $1.2 billion in lost client funds. He's a busy guy, he says, and MF Global was a big enough firm that the boss couldn't have been involved in ground-level operations.
That's the scenario at a lot of firms that get into trouble.
But what makes MF Global special is the reason Corzine was so busy.
While his company was not just destroying client money through bad risk management but actively losing the assets, he was spending a lot of time defending high-risk trading practices and avoiding efforts to get MF Global to boost its reserves.
He was very active fighting rules that weren't in his immediate interest. Remember, this is a guy who couldn't be bothered to take his FINRA exams.
If the firm had created and enforced a few more rules for itself, maybe its boss would know where his clients' money is. And maybe they wouldn't have gone bust in the first place.