One of the largest losses in history from unauthorized securities trading involved a securities trader for the French bank, Société Générale. The trader was able to circumvent internal controls and create over $7 billion in trading losses in six months. The trader apparently escaped detection by using knowledge of the bank’s internal control systems learned from a previous back-office monitoring job. Much of this monitoring involved the use of software to monitor trades. In addition, traders are usually kept to tight spending limits. Apparently, these controls failed in this case. What general weaknesses in Société Générales internal controls contributed to the occurrence and size of the losses?
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