Whoops: Goldman Sachs Makes a Million-Dollar Mistake

Dirty Money

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It looks like someone at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) needed to trade in their morning coffee for a red eye. Sources tell Bloomberg that the bank accidentally used the wrong Treasury note as a benchmark for the offering of $1 billion worth of five-year 2.875-percent notes from Ford Motor‘s (NYSE:F) finance unit, adding about $1.5 million in extra interest to the cost of the offering.

Goldman charged Ford a lower fee on the sale in order to compensate for the mistake — the car maker reportedly paid just 0.25 to underwrite the bonds, as opposed to 0.35 percent. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) was also an underwrite on the Ford bond offering.

The mistake, although relatively minor, is actually a fairly rare occurrence on Wall Street. It is likely that the slip up was a human error that simply failed to get noticed — whereas other issues that have landed Goldman in some hot water recently have been technical glitches.¬†For example, A clerical error — the result of a technical glitch — in the $11.6 trillion market for U.S. government debt prevented the multibillion-dollar order for Treasury bills made by Goldman Sachs at an early September auction from being processed. That mistake left the investment bank with a loss and the U.S debt market with severely altered prices.