Corzine Plots Comeback as PIIGS Fly

Jon Corzine ran MF Global, which collapsed in 2011.


Photo:

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Failure, they say, can be the best teacher. The tuition can be awfully expensive on Wall Street, though.

Jon Corzine,

despite an otherwise impressive résumé—senator, governor and Goldman Sachs executive—is best remembered for the blowup of brokerage firm MF Global in 2011 when he oversaw it. While he disputes its effect on the bankruptcy, Mr. Corzine famously directed the firm to make big bets on the bonds of the so-called PIIGS—Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain—then fetching very high yields on fears about the eurozone. Counterparties were spooked and the firm faced a liquidity crisis.

But, nearly eight years later, the bet looks smart. A Portuguese 10-year bond yielded 12.8% in November 2011 and now yields just 0.159%. Irish yields exceeded 11% that year and are now negative. Mr. Corzine wasn’t wrong—just early!

No wonder he is joining the likes of LTCM’s

John Meriwether

and Amaranth’s

Brian Hunter

in Wall Street’s second-chances club. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved a fund that he will run, though with a few limits such as being able to liquidate it quickly.

One hopes this time he’ll remember that timing your bets is just as important as getting them right.

Write to Spencer Jakab at spencer.jakab@wsj.com

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