Case Study on Sumitomo Corporation on Derivative Losses and Lesson Learned

1.1IntroductionSumitomo Corporation was top in market in copper business in the world prior to 1996 in term of trading size and it operations.

Copper business is part of their portfolio and it was delegated to Yasuo Hamanaka who was the Head of Copper Trading and he was engaged in illegal copper trading and faced extensive losses and massive cover-up. As the result of this loses, he attempted to avoid losses many times. This was against the rules and regulation of the London Metal Exchange (LME). LME created new regulation to prevent the market domination, as the result of this; he faced losses on his operations. There were two malfunctions recorded; he maintained two types of books, one is to showing big profit, and the second one is to keep secrete account, unauthorized trades over 10 years. No one except Hamanaka was not aware of accumulated loss of $ 1800 million. 1.2Background of the Company

Sumitomo Corporation is one of the subsidiaries of Sumitomo Group which is one of top 5 “Sogo Shosha” general trading in Japan. It has 120 overseas branches in 65 countries, and having diversified business of Metal, Mineral Resources, Energy, Chemical & Electronic and Infrastructure.

Copper Department is one of the departments in Copper Corporation which is owned Mineral Resources, Energy, Chemical & Electronic Business unit. In 1800s, Sumitomo Corporation was diversified the business into Sumitomo Bank, Sumitomo Metals, and Sumitomo Corporation. In 1980, they obtained strong position & positive reputation in the Copper market. Competition in Copper industry was very high; Copper was traded on LME listed in London and COMEX in USA. Copper was placed 3rd used Metal after Iron & Aluminum.

There were two types of market participants i.e. one is supplier who does physical supply, and the second is speculators who arbitrage deal without delivery. Sumitomo was acted as speculator and after acquiring mines in Philippines in 1984, Sumitomo changed from speculator to supplier. After 1988, they made of $3 to 4 million profit and they followed cost leadership strategy which caused huge loss because of having high inventory while declining demand.

LME is popular for providing spot and future markets where clearing systems reduce counter party risks. The delivery would be taken place for the authorized warehouses and storage facility. The specification of copper would be included i.e. quality, trading unit, price quotation, trading month, minimum fluctuation, and tick value. The copper contract would meet the following conditions i.e. counter party information is open, and delivery condition is by the party, not LME. Yasuo Hamanaka was the Chief/Head of Copper Corporation. He was committed wrongful Act during the 1985-1996.

He was referred as by many Mr. Five percent/Mr. Copper. He traded 0.5 million metric tons per year which was the 5 % of total world demand and having experience of 23 years in copper trading. 1.3Sumitomo Copper Scandals From 1985, Hamanaka lost a total of $1800 million. He executed as many as $20 billion worth of unauthorized trades a year. His main strategy was the “short squeeze”.

The future market was particularly vulnerable to manipulation since the market volume was relatively small. By buying up futures and choosing physical delivery, future seller ended up buying copper in a spot market, which resulted in backwardation: the spot price is higher than the forward price. As far as LME concern, it considers only the inventory in their authorized warehouses.

If someone moves away from copper inventory outside of an authorized warehouse, LME inventory appear to decrease and therefore, copper price rise due to a perceived tight supply in the market. Hamanaka implemented such strategy because of all his illegal trades was not booked, but is clear that this was a possible way to induce backwardation. In December of 1991, the LME decidbed to set new regulations that would limit the range of backwardation within 25 pounds to prevent market manipulation.

Backwardation shrunk to almost $0 or even negative, thus causing a huge loss in Sumitomo’s portfolio. To recoup the loss, he conducted a Radr transaction in June 1993, but at the end he ended up closing their Radr position and incurred a $1.1 billion loss. Hamanaka tried to recoup the loss by increasing the trade volume and made a contract with Winchester for1 million metric tons over two years at the price of $2,800, however, due to price declines, the loss kept expanding. Hamanaka’s next step was to create an option portfolio named “Radr” transactions.

He made six different transactions in Radr. The counterparty of these transactions was Credit Lyonnais Rouse (“CLR”, currently Calyon Group). Since the position held by CLR was large and caused backwardation, LME tightened the backwardation limit to $5 in September 8 1993. In addition, LME informed Credit Lyonnais that they were to cancel part of their transactions with Sumitomo on September 17th,, Thus resulting in a $1.16 billion loss for Sumitomo. 1st: In June 25, 1993, Hamanaka buys call option with an average price of $2,400 and which expires after 2 years.

The transaction is totally irregular because the total volume was 1 million metric tons as compared to all LME inventory of 0.5 million. The portfolio could make a profit if the price went up to $2,480. To pay a premium of $69 million, Hamanaka made a 2nd trade. 2nd: Hamanaka made a short strangle, combination by selling a 0.5 million $2,100 call and $1,900 put option. The portfolio could make a profit if the price remained between $1,900 and $2,140. From this transaction, he got $94 million of premium and paid for the 1st option. With 1st and 2nd strategy, total breakeven was $2,700. 3rd: Selling future at a price of $2,000 which increased payoff to around $1,900.

4th: Buying 1.35 million metric tons of $1,750 put, breakeven was $1,580. He predicted that the copper price would go down below $1,600 level. 5th: Buying 1.35 million metric tons of $1,800 put again, breakeven was changed to $1,680. This portfolio could make a profit slightly if the price went down below $1,700 level. 6th: Selling 1.2 million metric tons of $1,950 call to get $29 millions of premium. With this transaction, breakeven was changed to $1,680. However, if the copper price exceeded $1,950, Sumitomo suffered a huge loss. 1.4Lesson Learned from Sumitomo Case

The Sumitomo Case explains following lessons base on internal control and risk management prospective, and it believed that if controls were in place, losses would have been detected much earlier.

(a)Management Level Control: Sumitomo Corporation failed to execute a risk management practices and they believed the expertise and specialized knowledge of Hamanaka. The essence of the problem was unauthorized trading that the culprit undertook to enhance his firm’s profitability and then his own career and pay. Hamanaka tries to cover up the losses through taking more risk that end up with further losses. Setting up corporate discipline and sound Management structure is important to manage the risks.

(b)Independent Transaction Monitoring: Sumitomo should create a separate and independent supervisor system within the company hierarchy to avoid these agency issues; specifically the issues between recording and checking procedures. Segregation of duties is important to prevent the malpractices. Middle and bank office should be totally separated from the front office.

(c)Corporate Responsibility: We should also consider corporate responsibility with regard to timely reporting. In the Sumitomo case, the management waited ten days until issuing a press release. Sumitomo needed some time to calculate their losses; they could have avoided additional declines in copper prices that were caused because of the rumors and uncertainty in the market.

(d)Government Regulations: The regulatory agency should execute more stringent rules on the derivatives market to avoid price manipulation and impose new regulations on corporate reporting obligations so as to provide investors and other market participants with greater information regarding the organization’s willingness to take risks and capability to manipulate market prices. The official and market pressures of stringent regulation will strengthen the internal auditing and information systems of many firms and provide a check against possible management discretions.

2.Case study on the Orange Country on Derivatives Losses & Lessons Learned The purpose of this case is to explain how a municipal lost $1.6 billion in the financial market. In December 1994 Orange County stunned the market by announcing that its investment pool had suffered a loss of $ 1.6 billion this was the largest loss ever recorded by local government investment pool and led to the bankruptcy of the county shortly thereafter.

The loss was the result of unsupervised investment activity of the Bob Citron, the county treasure who was dealing with the $ 7.5 billion portfolio belonging to the county schools, cities, special districts, and county itself. In the tome of fiscal restrains Citron was viewed as a wizard who could painlessly generate greater results to the investors. Citron generate 2% higher than the comparable state pool

Figure 01 citron’s track recordcCitron was able to increase returns on the pool by investing in derivatives securities and leveraging the port folio to the hit. The pool was such demand due to its track record that citron had turn down investments by agencies outside Orange County. Some local schools districts and cities even issued short term taxable notes to the investment in the pool by increasing the leverage even further.

For that there was a repeated public warning, which was by notably by John Moorlach, who ran for treasurer in 1994, that the pool was too risky. Unfortunately, he was widely ignored by Citron when he was re elected. The investment strategy worked excellently until 1994, when fed started a series of interest rate hikes that caused severe losses to the pool. Initially it was announced as a paper loss. Shortly thereafter, the county declared bankrupts and decided to liquidate the portfolio.

This occurred because citron expect that interest rates would fall or stay the same, the citrons main purpose was to increase income by exploitation that the fact that medium term maturities had higher yield than short term investments. On Dec 1993, for instance short term yields were less than 3%, while 5year yield were around 5.2% .which such positive sloped term structure of interest tares , the tendency maybe to increase the duration of the investment to pick up extra yield .

The boost, of cause comes at the expense of great risk .the strategy went as long as interest rates went down. In February’94 however the Federal Reserve Bank starred a series of six consecutive interest rate increases, which led to a bloodbath in the bond market. The larger duration led to a $1.6 billion loss

2.1. Lessons Learned from Orange Country Case

Due to the activities of Bob Citron the municipality lost $1.6 billion in financial markets. Therefore, it is essential to understand the lessons to be learnt from the Orange Country case. (a). No autocratic decisions should make in investment activities Bob Citron was investing the funds owned by the taxpayers in risky securities in Wall Street as per his own interest.

Since he managed to generate higher returns for the funds invested in the early stages Citron was viewed as a wizard. This made him over confident on his actions which resulted in huge losses at the end. When the leverage increase due to these activities Bob Citron, the treasurer was warned by John Moorlach thath the pool was too risky. However, counter arguments were widely ignored and Citron was re-appointed as the treasurer. (b). Local governments need to maintain high standards for fiscal oversight and accountability.

As noted in the state auditor’s report following the bankruptcy, a number of steps should be taken to ensure that local funds are kept safe and liquid. These include having the Board of Supervisors approve the county’s investment fund policies, appointing an independent advisory committee to oversee investment decisions, requiring more frequent and detailed investment reports from the county treasurer, and establishing stricter rules for selecting brokers and investment advisors. Local officials should adjust government structures to make sure they have the proper financial controls in place at all times. (c).

State government should closely monitor the fiscal conditions of its local governments, rather than wait for serious problems to surface The state controller collects budget data from county governments and presents them in an annual report. These data should be systematically analyzed to determine which counties show abnormal patterns of revenues or expenditures or signs of fiscal distress. State leaders should discuss fiscal problems and solutions with local officials before the situation reaches crisis stage. (d). Always aware of the negative side on risky investments

The treasurer was assuming that interest rates would fall or stay low when he goes for huge investment activities. However, when the things moved the opposite direction and the interest rates went up the pool suffered severe losses.

Therefore, always be cautious when making predictions on market phenomena. (e). Use proper statistical risk assessing methods before invest in securities An investor could use a proper risk assessment method such as Value At Risk (VAR) method to assess the market risk of the portfolio. VAR is the maximum loss over a target horizon such that there is a low, pre specified probability that the actual loss will be larger. Therefore, shareholder and managers can decide whether they feel comfortable with the given level of risk.

3.Case study on the Procter & Gamble on Derivatives Losses & Lessons Learned

Procter & Gamble Co. is a Fortune 500, American global corporation based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that manufactures a wide range of consumer goods. In late 1993, Proctor & Gamble financial managers, well known for actively managing their interest costs, expected interest rates to drop and went to Bankers Trust searching for aggressive interest rate swaps that would allow them to profit on these expectations. P&G told to Bankers Trust about ways of replacing a fixed-to floating swap that was maturing. P&G’s specific objective was to negotiate a new $100 million swap that would

•Again put it in the position of paying floating rates and •Squeeze these to a minimum.

Specifically, the company wanted to pay 40 basis points (0.4 of 1%) less than its standard, upper-crust commercial paper rate (then about 3.25% for six-month paper).

Bankers Trust responded with a highly levered, extremely risky, and extremely complex five-year interest-rate swap agreement. In this the P&G had to pay 75 basis points less than rate of Commercial Paper, if the interest rates of 30 years and 5 years treasury bills will remain constant or go down. Five-year Treasury rates rose from 5% in early November 1993 to 6.7% on May 4, 1994. P&G’s other benchmark, 30-year Treasury rates, went from about 6% to 7.3%

. Because of large duration the effect of rise in interest rate on long term bonds was very high. When interest rates headed up, Proctor & Gamble’s treasurer realized the magnitude of the company’s potential derivatives losses and decided to get out of the swap. Because of the intricate complexities and linked derivatives of the agreement, however, P&G lost $157 million to lock-in interest rates (which were 1,412 basis points (14.12%) above the commercial paper rate) in only six months of a five year contract.

When interest rates headed up, Bankers’ trust entered into another contract with P& G- a wedding band. When this strategy also failed, it led P& G to pay even higher rate of interest from 14.12% above Commercial Paper (CP) to 16.40% above CP. CEO Edwin Artzt, called the swaps “a violation of the company’s policy against speculative financial transactions” and banned all leveraged swaps. As the Bankers Trust had suggested the contracts, P& G blamed them for the losses.

3.1Lesson Learned from Procter & Gamble CaseThe Procter and Gamble Case explains following, (a)Legal dispute between P&G and Bankers: Therein lies the crux of the legal dispute between P&G and Bankers. P&G claims that before the swaps were signed, Bankers repeatedly assured it that in the early stages of the swaps, the company would be able to do lock-ins at acceptable prices. Court papers, in fact, include letters from Bankers that make such assurances, though these consistently cite assumptions of stable or only slightly rising rates.

P&G says, however, that on one occasion it “pointedly” asked the Bankers Trust person with whom it was dealing what the lock-in situation on the first swap would be if rates and volatility were not “stable.” The answer, P&G says, was that “possible changes in rates or volatilities would not have a material or significant effect” on the company’s lock-in position. (b) Purpose of Deliveries: A P&G spokeswoman stressed that the transaction was “speculative and goes outside the P&G policy of conservatively managing our debt portfolio.”

Asked whether the company’s treasury was expected to be a profit center. In a speech, William J. McDonough, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, warned that top managements of financial and nonfinancial companies have a responsibility to understand and constantly monitor derivative markets when their companies are involved in them. Also Mr. McDonough said. “To put it simply and directly, if the bosses do not or cannot understand both the risks and the rewards in their products, their firm should not be in the business.”

4.Case study on the Showa Shell Sekiyu on Derivatives Lossess & Lessons Learned Showa Shell Sekiyu is one of Japan’s leading oil refining companies and is engaged in producing gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil, kerosene, lubricants etc. It was established in 1876 under Samuel Samuel & Co, and was later became a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell group, in 1985.

And presently, 50% of shares are owned by Royal Dutch Shell Group. In the year 1993, the Company made history by making approximately USD 1.4 Bn with unauthorized forward currency transactions. As an oil importer, company imported crude oil in US Dollars and sold the end products in Yen. Showa Shell had been used to hedge a proportion of its currency exposure using foreign exchange forward contracts. In 1989, company entered into a series of forward options where it agreed to buy dollars forward at an average rate of USD 145.

Over the next few years Yen strengthened ageist the dollar. However, at the time of maturing of these contracts, the foreign exchange rate was at USD 125, indicating a difference of USD 20 or a drop of approximately 14%. But, treasury department of the company decided not to recognize the losses and chose to roll over the forwards using historical rates, without appropriate internal authority. And consequently, the actual losses made were concealed within the new forward contracts, and this actually meant that the company was borrowing money under the guise of forward contracts.

This practice or rather malpractice was continued until the end of 1992, and at that time the company had in excess of USD 6.4 Bn of forward contracts on their accounts, and out of this, it was revealed by the management of the company that hidden financial losses were USD 1.4 Bn. And the losses amounted to more than five times of its annual oil import at that time. Four senior executives of the company had resigned following the discovery of unauthorized currency dealing including, Kiyoshi Takahashi chairman of Showa, Takeshi Hemmi the president, who took responsibility for the dealings that resulted in the huge losses.

The resignations were made as shell, one of the biggest world oil groups , reported a 28% decline in net profits. Main reason for the losses was that treasury department of the company, entering into unauthorized forward currency transactions, with the expectation of US Dollar to rise against Yen, and attention was not given to the fact of worsening the situation in case of Yen strengthening against Yen. John Jennings, then Shell Group managing director, had stated that, an unauthorized currency speculation was like “A gross contravention of established rules and practices which was deliberately canceled”.

The continued dealings that were made were the result of one treasury manager trying to recoup losses amounting to single figure millions, incurred during normal course of his job, although with failures in attempts made, continues dealings were made by exposing the company to increasingly large exchange rate risks. 4.1Lessons Learned from Showa Shell Sekiyu Case

These huge losses made, forced the company to focus on more tight internal controls and focus on the importance of having internal controls. Although defining of risk limits is not necessarily provide results, if proper controlling is not there to take corrective measures, in case of deviations. And furthermore, it is never advantageous to assume that market fluctuations can be predicted accurately, at all times.

And if being successful in the past, it can purely be due to luck and it does not guarantee that next time would be the same. Company incurred the losses on the assumption of currency value increasing rather than decreasing. The purpose of using derivatives is to hedge the risk and not to make profits by speculating and speculators take huge risks, rather than hedging risks. Company should have focused on the fact of maintaining their crude oil import price by mitigating exchange rate risks by using the forward contracts.

If a loss is made in the process of trying to maintain price level, although losses are made in the profit and loss account, the objective of maintaining price level is still achieved. This fact is very important in dealing with derivatives and should not make harsh judgments on losses made when trying to maintain price level. It is difficult to measure the exact point, where, the hedging of risks ends and being speculative starts.

And in Showa case, treasury department of the company, who were there to hedge risk, had dealt as a speculator and without adhering to the internal controls and not obtaining proper approval for its dealings. In addition, it took more than four years to recognize this malpractice by the higher authorities, which pin points the lack of transparency in accounting practices. And it was blamed by some experts on the Japanese accounting system, since the dealings were not identified earlier. And the dealings were only revealed by chance, during a conversation between a Japanese bank manager and Showa manager.