Knight Capital Americas

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I’m responsible for one question.

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.

The above case study is available with your Harvard coursepack (In attachment)

Each team will read the above, discuss, and address the following questions based on which they will make a 15-minute presentation.

Questions:

1- What happened at Knight Capital on August 1, 2012 at 9.30am? What went wrong?

2- If we take a step back from the specifics, what would you say are the deeper causes of these events? How did this happen?

3- Could it have been prevented by better management? What different procedures for change control, event response etc. should have been in place that were not?

4- How culpable is CEO Joyce in all this? How about the board of directors? How can boards anticipate risks like this and forestall them? Or can they?

5- 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?

I’m responsible for one question which question number 4- How culpable is CEO Joyce in all this? How about the board of directors? How can boards anticipate risks like this and forestall them? Or can they?

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