Check your decimals to avoid disaster

27 March 2012
It’s always nice when a story pops up that is both amusing and thought-provoking, so it was with glee that I read the headline “JPMorgan Chase in ‘missing’ decimal point contract blunder”. Basically, the bank managed to offer Switzerland-based trader Kai Herbert 10 times what they intended to for a job in their Johannesburg offices. They meant to offer him 2.4 million RAND (£198,000), but actually offered him 24 million (£1.9 million). It would appear that Mr Herbert was less than happy when he realised that he would have to wait a while longer for a life of yachts, penthouse apartments and £10,000 bottles of wine, as he failed to report for the job, which was therefore terminated. And then things got legal when Mr Herbert sued the bank for a loss of earnings (more in the region of the erroneous salary level at around £2 million before dropping it eventually down to £580,000). As The Telegraph reported, not only has he lost the case, he has also been ordered to pay costs of £85,000. So the poor fellow has gone from thinking he was about to get a 10-fold pay rise to being significantly out of pocket. The lesson for buyers? Well, quite simply… check your decimals.
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