The Collapse of Barings

 
9780099182429: The Collapse of Barings

A true tale chronicling the diasatrous collision of old money and raw greed.

In February 1995, the unthinkable happened: one of the oldest and most respected merchant banks in London went bankrupt. The story that "rogue" Barings trader Nick Leeson lost hundreds of millions of pounds speculating in the Far East was front-page news throughout the world. Accused of fraud on a massive scale, Leeson first strenuously opposed being tried in Singapore, then eventually was taken there from his prison in Frankfurt. In December 1995 he pleaded guilty - and the trial began and ended within two days. As a result, the prosecution case against Leeson was not heard. What really happened to cause the downfall of "the Queen's bank," and who was actually responsible?

In The Collapse of Barings, Stephen Fay investigates the facts behind the headlines and discovers a closed network of privilege, greed, and incompetence. In the rapidly changing system of global finance, the directors of Barings came to rely on people they hardly knew - like Nick Leeson - to make their fortunes in markets they did not fully understand, like SIMEX in Singapore. The plasterer's son from Watford was still in his mid-twenties when he rose to become the golden boy of Barings, claiming to have made profits of ten million dollars in one week. His London bosses watched passively as a culture of speculation grew until it eventually destroyed them, and changed the face of London's financial heartland.

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Review:

Stephen Fay's book The Collapse of Barings joins a growing list of contemporary accounts of the banking scandal that brought down England's most prestigious investment bank. The financial calamity that Nicholas Leeson unleashed through his unauthorized trading was so grand in scope that the story seemed likely to be of great interest as well. A story about a "rogue trader" in Singapore who could destabilize finances worldwide and bring down the Queen's bank has so many angles worthy of exploration, from the character of Leeson to the technology that made it possible, from the history of Barings to the nature of global finance, that you can't blame writers for rushing in to chronicle it. But with Leeson's own tell-all tome Rogue Trader, and the excellent account Total Risk: Nick Leeson and the Fall of Barings Bank by Judith H. Rawnsley, as well as a fascinating chapter on the Barings scandal in Martin Meyer's book The Bankers: The Next Generation, the story has largely been told. Nevertheless, Stephen Fay is an excellent business writer, and his book is an adept study of Leeson and the damage he did to banking and Barings. Fay pays particular attention to the British reaction to the Barings collapse and uncovers anglophile angles previously overlooked. Those looking for another take on the Barings scandal or an exhaustive collection of Barings books will snatch this book up with no regrets.

From the Back Cover:

In February 1995, the unthinkable happened: one of the oldest and most respected merchant banks in London went bankrupt. The story that "rogue" Barings trader Nick Leeson lost hundreds of millions of pounds speculating in the Far East was front-page news throughout the world. Accused of fraud on a massive scale, Leeson first strenuously opposed being tried in Singapore, then eventually was taken there from his prison in Frankfurt. In December 1995 he pleaded guilty - and the trial began and ended within two days. As a result, the prosecution case against Leeson was not heard. What really happened to cause the downfall of "the Queen's bank", and who was actually responsible? In The Collapse of Barings, Stephen Fay investigates the facts behind the headlines and discovers a closed network of privilege, greed, and incompetence. In the rapidly changing system of global finance, the directors of Barings came to rely on people they hardly knew - like Nick Leeson - to make their fortunes in markets they did not fully understand, like SIMEX in Singapore. The plasterer's son from Watford was still in his mid-twenties when he rose to become the golden boy of Barings, claiming to have made profits of ten million dollars in one week. His London bosses watched passively as a culture of speculation grew until it eventually destroyed them, and changed the face of London's financial heartland.

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Fay, Stephen
Published by Arrow (1996)
ISBN 10: 0099182424 ISBN 13: 9780099182429
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Murray Media
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Book Description Arrow, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110099182424

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