Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2012 (Revised August 2012)

MF Global: Changing Stripes

by Clayton Rose, Yasmin Dahya and Jenevieve Lee

Abstract

Jon Corzine became the CEO of MF Global in March of 2010. Eighteen months later, and in the wake of a massive trade in European sovereign debt, the firm filed for bankruptcy, the 8th largest in U.S. history. As the firm failed it was discovered that over $1.6 billion in segregated customer assets was missing. The case explores issues that may have contributed to MF Global's demise, including its business model and the competitive pressures it faced prior to and following Corzine's arrival, and the strategic and managerial decisions taken by Corzine to reorient the firm. In addition, the sovereign debt trade, created to boost earnings, is described in some detail.

Keywords: strategy; leadership; governance; bankruptcy; financial firms; financial crisis; brokerage; Asset Management; Sovereign Finance; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Borrowing and Debt; Trade; Business Model;

Citation:

Rose, Clayton, Yasmin Dahya, and Jenevieve Lee. "MF Global: Changing Stripes." Harvard Business School Case 312-105, June 2012. (Revised August 2012.)