Knight Capital Americas LLC
(7 pages of text)
It took 19 years to build Knight Capital Americas LLC into the largest market maker on the New York Stock Exchange, but on August 1, 2012, it took only 45 minutes for the firm to be wiped out by an information technology (IT) problem: a change in the company's software caused it to lose more than $450 million dollars in less than an hour. Although it was ultimately saved from bankruptcy when it was acquired two days later, the terms of acquisition were very unfavourable to the company’s shareholders. How did this happen? Could it have been prevented? What should the staff, the chief executive officer, other managers and the board of directors have done differently? What lessons does this story hold for how firms should be managed and governed? And what does it say about our ability to manage risk in large modern corporations operating in increasingly fast-moving and complex global markets?
This case could be used in most IT management courses, with a particular focus on IT risk management procedures and IT board governance issues. It could also be a part of a course on risk management. Its objectives are:
- To consider questions about the design of operational processes, the difficulties of monitoring automated system performance, crisis management and larger issues of risk management at operational and board levels, as well as board governance.
- To discuss the culpability of the chief executive officer and board for a complex risk that was buried within the company's information technology system.
Finance and Insurance
United States, Large, 2012
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