Banker's 'Fat Finger' Error Mistakenly Pays Client $6 Billion

Honestly, it could happen to anyone.
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Honestly, it could happen to anyone.
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We’ve all been there. You mean to type “thing” and you type “thong.” Or you try to affirm that you’ve “got it,” and instead you wind up exclaiming, “Go tit!”

The worst is when you’re a junior banker at one of the top financial institutions in the world and you press the wrong button and send $6 billion whizzing through cyberspace and into a client’s account by mistake.

That’s what an employee on Deutsche Bank’s foreign exchange desk did, according to the Financial Times. It’s being called one of the worst cases of “fat finger syndrome” in banking history.

That said, such flubs are more common than they should be, given that the world’s capital markets are an extraordinarily delicate house of cards that could be undone by a stiff breeze. Just last year, a Japanese trader mistakenly placed some $600 billion in orders, then quickly retracted them 20 minutes later. And in 2012, the financial firm Knight Capital was undone by a computer glitch that cost the company some $440 million.

The bank isn’t commenting on the incident and has declined to name the staff member who committed the error, but there’s no evidence that actual finger size played a role. In fact, it should be noted that people with chubby, sausage-like digits are no more prone to such blunders than anyone else.

What is clear is that the world economy is held together by a thin filament of blind faith, sometimes buggy technology and overworked junior bankers, and that storing your cash in an old Rice Krispies box on a high shelf is looking more prudent every day. 

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