The collapse of Barings, and Nick Leeson’s role in it, is one of the most spectacular debacles in modern financial history. How could one trader bring down the banking empire that had funded the Napoleonic Wars?
Nick Leeson, the young gambler who found himself sucked into a terrifying spiral of loss was a working-class boy who lived high in an upper-class world until his unchecked gambling caused the downfall of Barings, the banker to the Queen and caused chaos in the Singaporean money market.
Markets have always been cruel, but rarely have they been so cruel so swiftly — and on such a grand scale. Nick talks candidly about what happened, the lack of accounting safeguards, his capture and confinement for nine months in a Frankfurt prison and being sentenced to 6 years by the Singaporecourt for forgery and cheating.
In the aftermath of the AIB trading scandal in New York, and the collapse of Enron and Worldcom, Nick provides a fascinating insight into the continuing failures of senior and middle management at large corporations who still fail to protect shareholders and customers. He also talks about being diagnosed with cancer and his fight against it.