An alcoholic rogue trader who cost his company £6m (€7.4m) after a drunken golf weekend was today fined £72,000 (€89,000) and banned for a minimum of five years by the City watchdog.
Steve Perkins, a broker with PVM Oil, was sacked last year after buying more than seven million barrels of oil – pushing up the price of Brent crude more than two dollars to an eight-month high.
The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) said Mr Perkins, from Brentwood in Essex, was “not a fit and proper person” to work in the industry due to his alcoholism.
The unauthorised trading took place on June 29 and 30 last year, following a drinking binge at a PVM golf weekend.
Mr Perkins – who took the Monday off work but continued to drink from around midday onwards – made his first batch of unauthorised trades that evening.
But the most serious damage was done in the early hours of Tuesday June 30, when Mr Perkins bought a net 7.13 million barrels of oil. The unusually high trading volume in the typically quiet overnight period sent prices surging.
Later that morning the trader began selling down his huge position but repeatedly lied to PVM about the unauthorised activity until admitting what he had done later, when his trading access was suspended and the company sold off the rest of the oil.
The FSA made no criticism of PVM in its report but said Mr Perkins – who claimed to be in an alcohol-induced blackout when the trading took place – gave a false impression of the demand for Brent and “poses an extreme risk to the market when drunk”
Mr Perkins has stopped drinking since the incident and joined a rehabilitation programme for alcoholics.
Alexander Justham, the FSA’s director of markets, said: “Perkins’ drunkenness does not excuse his market abuse. Perkins has been banned because he is not a fit and proper person to be involved in regulated activities and his behaviour posed a risk to the proper functioning of the market.”