mercredi, décembre 17, 2008

Scandale Madoff: quelle vérification diligente?

C'est la question que je me suis posée en lisant l'article du Wall Street Journal publié hier intitulé Madoff ran vast options game (ici, abonnement requis):

On Wall Street, traders started picking apart Mr. Madoff's investing strategy based on client statements -- which they said raised red flags that should have been obvious to the banks and investment firms that promoted Mr. Madoff. Several concluded that while Mr. Madoff's stated strategy was valid, it would have been impossible to execute with the amount of money he was managing.


Some investment advisers steered clear of Madoff funds, in part because of discrepancies like these. "It seemed implausible that the S&P-100 options market that Madoff purported to trade could handle the size" of Madoff's estimated $13 billion in assets, wrote James Vos and Jake Walthour of advisory firm Aksia LLC last week in an explanation of why they didn't recommend funds that invested with Madoff to clients.
Dans le Report on Business également hier, Andrew Willis y allait avec un commentaire incisif sur cette question (ici).

It's called due diligence.

It's a process that is so basic to investing that it should never need to be explained. But with clients of some supposedly sophisticated institutions now out somewhere between $17-billion (U.S.) and $50-billion courtesy of their involvement in Bernie Madoff's hedge funds, it seems timely to revisit the concept of this duty owed to clients.

Cette absence ou lacune dans la vérification diligente laisse perplexe. Laxisme? Biais cognitif ("its different this time")? Peut-être en apprendrons-nous davantage dans le cadre des poursuites et enquêtes qui se préparent. Ces poursuites sont déjà amorcées comme l'indique l'article du NYT In Fraud Case, Middlemen in Spotlight (ici) qui met en relief le rôle (et les défaillances possibles) de certains intermédiaires.

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