Rogue trader Nick Leeson sets up operational risk consultancy

Rogue trader Nick Leeson sets up operational risk consultancy

Nick Leeson, the infamous rogue trader whose unchecked risk-taking caused the collapse of Barings Bank twenty years ago, has set up a consultancy to help firms avoid a similar fate to that suffered by his former employers at the UK's oldest merchant bank.

Leeson has teamed up with operational risk consultant Mike Finlay to set up the new venture, Risk Team, which will focus on raising risk awareness around human behaviour, culture, conduct and corporate governance issues.

Leeson says that recent corporate scandals at Volkswagen and the TalkTalk hacking breach shows that organisations still have a lot to learn in establishing strong corporate governance and cultural sensitivity to risky business strategies.

"Barings was described as a wake-up call that nobody would ever forget, yet a brief look at the last two decades clearly shows the opposite effect," says Leeson. "It is highly apparent that the difficult questions are still not being asked. This is where we see Risk Team addressing that imbalance.”

He says the unit will act as an education, advisory and investigation firm, with specialities in operational risk management, internal and regulatory compliance, mismanagement, unauthorised activity and forensic investigation.

Since leaving prison in 1999, Leeson has become a familiar figure on the after-dinner speaking circuit where he advises companies about risk and corporate responsibility.

Finlay, a former banker and member of the Institute of Operational Risk, sees Leeson's involvement in the venture as guaranteeing a foot in the door.

"Much of the battle is raising awareness," he says. "Nick’s name does that immediately and allows us to focus on the intricacies of culture, governance and control as quickly as possible.”

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 November, 2015, 14:361 like 1 like There must be no news at all! Most people reading this won't even know who Nick Leeson is let alone care. It's funny they are only rogue traders when they lose money. When they rip others off and make ££££ for their bank, at the expense of others, they get a Porsche. Poor old Nick got cancer, dumped by his greedy wife and worse still was played by obi one Ewan in the film flop.
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 November, 2015, 17:09Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Personally, I'm never too happy when people profit from their crimes.

Bill Trueman
Bill Trueman - - London 10 December, 2015, 11:221 like 1 like

The article says it all in a strange way. But to summarise here:


- Nick Leeson lied and cheated his employer Barings Bank in order to be paid millions in bonuses for his successful trading.

- His successfull trading was actually loss making in the 100s millions, that cause a bank that was one of the oldest in London to fail and close and be disgraced.

- He went to jail for his crimes; and part of his defense was that he did not know anything about what he was doing.

He has now decided, with that history and no qualifications or history in this area to become a consultant and with that to go into other organisations to 'help' them in some way. Really? 

The best way to deal with challenges in organisations is to get people who understand the problems, and can help address them. Of course, we must accept that people do rehabilitate, but we still have to apply some common-sense to the rehabilitation process.

BTW - I have some well-trained foxes for sale - that are ideal for guarding chickens. Contact me for more details.