Seán Quinn

The €3bn Sean Quinn acknowledged he lost on 'contracts for difference' has made will go down in history as among the most significant suffered by a private individual in the recent banking and stockmarket crash, according to leading international historians
of the stockmarkets and market participants, writes Eamon Quinn.

David Buick of financial bookie Cantor Fitzgerald said that the losses Sean Quinn made betting on a single share, Anglo Irish, through contracts for difference (CFDs) were "undoubtedly" the biggest an individual has suffered in the history of CFD trading.

Sean Quinn has disclosed that €2.5bn of the €3bn he lost was wagered through so-called leveraged CFD bets on Anglo Irish.

Leading market historian David Schwartz, who also writes on his stock-market trading activities for the Financial Times, said that Sean Quinn's overall losses were "eye-watering" regardless of whether they propelled him to near the top list of those losing most money in the stock market crash. Big investors such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett would have lost more but over a longer period, he said.

Buick of Cantor said Sean Quinn's CFD losses "could not be easily be explained".

Cantor famously pulled back from CFDs and other leveraged investments in Ireland and the rest of the world in 2006 after it correctly called the risks, even though it lost many of its clients here at the time.

Commenting on the borrowings that led Sean Quinn to lose so much on CFDs, market commentator Russell Napier told the Sunday Tribune: "An investor's greatest asset is time but gearing turns that asset into a liability."