The 12 Most Spectacular Financial Services Failures of All Time

As a result of its spectacular tech fail on Aug. 1, Knight Capital became the latest financial services firm to have pushed to the brink of collapse before being either rescued at the eleventh hour or permanently wiped out.
August 10, 2012


Bear Stearns

The 85-year-old Wall Street firm spiraled from being healthy to almost insolvent in 72 nail-biting hours. On March 13, 2008, Bear executives made the shocking discovery that they were almost out of cash. Faced with less than $3 billion on hand, the firm was teetering on the brink of collapse and needed a cash injection just to open for business the next day. During the early hours of March 14, 2008, Fed officials relied on legislative powers that hadn't been used since the Great Depression in the 1930s in a desperate bid to avert the collapse of the venerable firm with an emergency loan. Bear was eventually sold to JP Morgan for $10 per share, making it the first casualty of the 2008 financial crisis.

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