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5 years ago… Eurex trader accidentally loses £10m

Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor


19.11.98: A trainee trader on the German electronic exchange Eurex lost £10m after mistakenly pressing the wrong keys.

Eurex, which was formed from the merger of Deutsche Terminbourse and Soffex, the Swiss derivatives exchange, is where most German bond futures contracts are traded.

The problem occurred when a trainee was plugged into the simulation system and switched over to the live system whilst practising with £11.5bn worth of German bond future contracts. The contracts were then sold at a loss of £10m.

The mistake calls into question whether Liffe (London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange) could experience similar problems when its electronic system goes live on 30 November. A spokesman for Liffe said it has been running a full training scheme offline rather than a simulation that runs alongside the live version - thereby preventing similar mistakes.

19.11.03: There is no great lesson to be learned from this, only that even in the most high-tech, high-risk environments, digital blunders happen. Do take care.

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