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Fired 33-year-old SocGen trader says he was expecting a $1m bonus

Eight months ago, life was good for Kavish Kataria, the 33-year-old former SocGen vice president at the centre of the French bank's latest trading brouhaha. Based in Hong Kong on the delta one desk, Kataria says he made $50m in profits in 2023 through to September. He was expecting a $1m bonus and was scheduled to move to Singapore with the bank.

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However, on the eve of his planned Singaporean move, after his daughter had been withdrawn from school, his wife had given up her job, and he'd handed in notice on his home, Kataria says he received a call from SocGen that changed everything. The bank had discovered that his trades had gone undetected by its risk management systems. Kataria says he was initially put on paid leave and told not to leave Hong Kong. A period of suspension lasted until December.

Then he was fired. 

In firing him, Kataria says SocGen withheld around $300k of previous years' stock bonuses and around $100k of bonuses deferred in cash. Kataria says he was expecting a $1m bonus for 2023. He received no bonus at all. Nor did he receive full severance pay: Kataria says SocGen paid him just seven days' salary.

SocGen isn't commenting on Kataria's claims. The bank said previously that its "strict control framework" enabled it to "identify a one-off trading incident in 2023, which didn't generate any impact and led to appropriate mending measures." 

Kataria says his strategy didn't generate any losses and that he was unaware that it was forbidden. “I would like to ask during all this time there was no one to check what has been happening on the desk?” he said in a post on LinkedIn. “I accept I did trade options on Indian indices and according to me it was in my mandate and well within the trading limits.”

Kataria spent nearly three years at Hong Kong in Singapore after joining from Edelweiss Financial Services in Singapore. 

After he was fired by SocGen in December, Kataria tells us he was left no choice but to move back home to India. "I had nowhere to live and couldn't afford to stay in Hong Kong." 

He's since been looking for a new job, preferably in Hong Kong or Singapore, at a bank or hedge fund, but says the situation with SocGen has deterred people from hiring him. "I had to present my side of the story. It was not my fault, but a systems failure," he claims.

Since returning to India, Kataria has been trading his own money. He says he's generated 44% returns in four months.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ca
    caparn
    5 May 2024

    I'd fire him just for those sunglasses

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