A former oil futures broker who went on a weekend drinking binge before blacking out and trading more than 7m barrels of oil has been banned from working in the City for at least five years by the Financial Services Authority.
Stephen Perkins had been suspended since July last year when the large volume of trading was discovered by the London-based oil broker PVM Oil Futures where he had worked since 1998.
The disciplinary action taken by the City regulator includes a £72,000 fine which would have been £150,000 if the FSA had not taken in to account the financial hardship this would have caused the trader, who had repeatedly lied to his employer to cover up his activities.
The FSA discovered illicit trading during a 19-hour period on 29 and 30 June and found he had sent a text message to his boss saying he would not be able to come to work because a relative was unwell. He was a broker in Brent crude on the international commodities futures market, ICE, which meant he was only supposed to execute trades on behalf of clients.
The decision notice published by the FSA said: “Mr Perkins’s explanation for his trading on 29 and 30 June is that he was drunk. He says that he drank heavily throughout the weekend and continued drinking from around midday on Monday 29 June. He claims to have limited recollection of events on Monday and claims to have been in an alcohol-induced blackout at the time he traded in the early hours of 30 June.”
He had begun trading on 29 July 2009 purportedly on behalf of a customer – dubbed Client A by the FSA – but only one of these trades was for the customer, who ended up with a position of $8m (£5.3m).