Typing error costs Japanese broker €190m

Japan’s government rebuked the Tokyo Stock Exchange and one of the country’s biggest brokerage firms today after a typing error caused Mizuho Securities to lose at least 27 billion yen (€190m) on a stock trade.

Japan’s government rebuked the Tokyo Stock Exchange and one of the country’s biggest brokerage firms today after a typing error caused Mizuho Securities to lose at least 27 billion yen (€190m) on a stock trade.

The glitch upset the Japanese market, while jitters over the reliability of the exchange’s trading system contributing to a 1.95% drop in the benchmark Nikkei 225 index yesterday.

The Nikkei rebounded 1.45% today to finish at 15,404.05, but the mishap triggered concern among some traders just a month after an embarrassing glitch at the Tokyo exchange shut down the market for almost an entire day.

The trouble began yesterday morning, when Mizuho Securities tried to sell 610,000 shares at 1 yen (0.007c) apiece in a job recruiting firm called J-Com, which was having its public debut on the exchange.

It had actually intended to sell 1 share at 610,000 yen (€4,300).

Worse still, the number of shares in Mizuho’s order was 41 times than J-Com’s true outstanding amount, but the Tokyo Stock Exchange processed the order anyway.

Mizuho says it tried to cancel the order three times, but the exchange said it doesn’t cancel transactions even if they are executed on erroneous orders.

By the end of the day, Mizuho Securities – a division of the nation’s second-largest bank, Mizuho Financial Group. – had lost at least 27 billion yen. That total could escalate, however, as more trades settle, Mizuho Securities spokesman Hideki Sakuma said today, adding that the mishap was sparked by human error.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency, the country’s financial watchdog, began an immediate probe into what went wrong and how to prevent a repeat.

“In order to maintain the credibility of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, I very strongly want this issue to be resolved quickly,” said Economy and Banking Minister Kaoru Yosano. “The first thing for the Financial Services Agency to do is to determine what happened in detail. Based on that, we will decide what is needed based on the rules and regulations.”

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