Financial Modelling Errors

A list of financial modelling errors that made the news.

(PHE) misreported COVID-19

5th October 2020

Public Health England (PHE) misreported COVID-19 cases in England. Over a period of eight days 15,841 positive cases of COVID-19 were not reported or passed into the contact-tracing process.

See our full article here.

UK Government accidentally published addresses

29th December 2019

The UK Government accidentally published the addresses of more than 1,000 New Year Honour recipients in a spreadsheet online.

See our full article here.

Astronaut phoned grandmother from space

29th December 2015

British astronaut Tim Peake phoned grandmother Betty Barker, 79 from the International Space Station by mistake.

See our full article here.

Genes renamed due to Excel format issue

6th August 2020

Scientists in the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) have decided to rename 27 human genes because Excel was converting their names into dates.

See our full article here.

Reinhart and Rogoff Financial Modelling Error

16th April 2013

Economists admit that there was an error in their modelling. It turns out it was one of the simplest and oldest Excel errors in the book.

See our full article here.

JP Morgan London Whale Debacle

January 2013

The financial modelling team at JP Morgan created a number of value-at-risk (VaR) financial models in Excel.

The models significantly understated the company’s risk and this was noted as a major factor in its $6 billion trading loss that year.

See our full article here.

AstraZeneca Restate Forecasts

January 2012

Drug maker AstraZeneca inadvertently issued confidential information in a spreadsheet which formed part of its release to analysts.

See our full article here.

Kodak $11 Million Severance Error

November 2005

Kodak were forced to restate two quarters of their financial records after discovering that they had overstated severance payments by $11m.

See our full article here.

TransAlta Lose $24m

June 2003

The financial modellers in TransAlta's bids team made an error in the bids model which led them to win a number of contracts in the New York power market that it did not actually need to win and at prices it had not intended.

See our full article here.

Fannie Mae $1.2bn Restatement

October 2003

Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) were forced to restate their unrealised gains by $1.2 billion after discovering  “honest mistakes" in one of their spreadsheet-based financial models.

See our full article here.

Islandsbanki Under-prices Stake Sale

November 2022

Iceland bank Islandsbanki sold off 22.5% (450 million) of its shares in March 2022. The National Audit Office discovered that the sales price of 117 kronur per share undervalued the shares based on the actual demand prices recorded.

See our full article here.

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