Release Number 6450-12

December 7, 2012

CFTC Orders Goldman, Sachs & Co., a Commission Registrant, to Pay $1.5 Million for Supervision Failures

By exploiting Goldman’s internal control failures, a former Goldman employee hid an $8.3 billion trading position; Goldman lost in excess of $100 million unwinding the position

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Goldman, Sachs & Co. (Goldman), a registered futures commission merchant (FCM) based in New York, N.Y., has been ordered to pay a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty to settle CFTC charges that it failed to diligently supervise its employees for several months in late 2007. The CFTC Order also requires Goldman to cease and desist from violating a CFTC regulation requiring diligent supervision.

According to the CFTC’s Order, for several months, Goldman failed to ensure that certain aspects of its risk management, compliance, and supervision programs comported with its obligations to supervise diligently its business as a Commission registrant. During November and December 2007, Goldman further failed to supervise diligently the trading activities of an associated person and former Goldman trader, Matthew Marshall Taylor, whose trading activities on seven days in mid-November and mid-December 2007 in the e-mini S&P 500 futures contract traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s (CME) Globex platform resulted in a substantial loss to Goldman.

Specifically, in violation of Commission Regulation 166.3, Goldman failed to have policies or procedures reasonably designed to detect and prevent the manual entry of fabricated futures trades into its front office systems, which aggregated manually entered and electronically executed trades in the same product. As a result, on seven trading days in November and December 2007, Taylor circumvented Goldman’s risk management, compliance, and supervision systems, by entering fabricated e-mini S&P 500 sell trades into its manual trading system, which artificially offset and thereby camouflaged e-mini S&P 500 buy trades Taylor had executed in the market. In particular, Taylor established an $8.3 billion e-mini S&P 500 position in a Goldman trading account on December 13, 2007. Goldman suffered a loss of over $118 million in unwinding Taylor’s position.

Separately, the Order states that after Taylor was discharged, Goldman orally notified the CME and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Goldman’s ensuing regulatory filings with the National Futures Association (NFA) and FINRA stated that Taylor had been accused of “violating investment-related statutes, regulations, rules, or industry standards of conduct” for “conduct related to inappropriately large proprietary futures positions in a firm trading account.” Thereafter, in response to FINRA’s follow-up inquiries, Goldman provided additional important information only to FINRA, i.e., that Taylor attempted to conceal his trading via fabricated trades. Goldman never provided that additional important information to the NFA or the Commission until after the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement commenced the investigation leading to today’s settlement.

The Order states that Goldman has represented in its settlement offer that it has made changes in light of the events discussed in the Order, including implementing written enhancements to its U.S. futures-related trading and risk management controls and supervision policies and procedures. Goldman has also undertaken to implement a written procedure to enhance its provision of information to the NFA and the Commission about misconduct or alleged misconduct of terminated Goldman employees that relates to trading on a Commission-regulated market to ensure that termination notifications of associated persons, including follow-up disclosures, are provided to the NFA and the Commission.

On November 8, 2012, in a related action, the CFTC filed an enforcement action in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, charging Taylor with defrauding Goldman by intentionally concealing from Goldman the true size, as well as the risk and potential profits or losses associated with the S&P e-mini futures contracts positions traded by Taylor in the Goldman account (see CFTC Press Release 6409-12, November 8, 2012 under Related Links).

The CFTC thanks FINRA for its assistance in this matter.

CFTC staff members responsible for this case are Janine Gargiulo, Trevor Kokal, Judith Slowly, David Acevedo, Lenel Hickson, Stephen Obie, and Vincent McGonagle.

Media Contact
Dennis Holden

Last Updated: December 10, 2012