Nick Leeson

Former rogue trader responsible for the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995

Nick Leeson | NMP Live Copyright © Markus Voetter

Nick Leeson, the “rogue trader” that broke Barings Bank is one of the most sought-after speakers on the global speaking circuit. The collapse of Barings Bank, and Nick Leeson's role in it, remains one of the most spectacular debacles in modern financial history.

How could one trader, an ambitious 25 years old investment broker, bring down the banking empire that had funded the Napoleonic Wars and counted HM The Queen as one of its private customers?

The young gambler who found himself sucked into a terrifying spiral of loss was a working-class boy from Watford, north London, who lived out of his depth, high in an upper-class world, until his unchecked gambling caused the downfall of Barings Bank in 1995 and caused chaos in the Singaporean money market.

Sentenced to six and a half years for fraud, Nick spent four and a half of those incarcerated in a Triad gang-ridden Singaporean prison, locked up 23 hours a day, most days, in 100+ degree heat. He was eventually released early on compassionate grounds, due to battling colon cancer, on July 3rd 1999 and extradited back to the UK. At that time his oncologist gave him a 60% chance of surviving another five years.

More recent cases such as Allied Irish Bank, Societe Generale (2008) and UBS (2011) simply highlight that loopholes haven't been closed. In an exclusive interview for the BBC with Huw Edwards, Nick commented "
I think rogue trading is probably a daily occurrence amongst the financial markets. Not enough focus goes on those risk management areas, those compliance areas, those settlement areas, that can ultimately save them money."

Despite more audacious and larger scale incidents of rogue trading since the collapse of Barings, Nick Leeson remains the most infamous and high-profile rogue trader and one of the world's most sought-after keynote speakers within the corporate sector. The late Sir David Frost, who interviewed Nick whilst in the Frankfurt prison, optioned the rights to his story and in 1999 the Hollywood film “Rogue Trader” was released as a dramatisation of his story and starred Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Trainspotting) with Anna Friel (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pushing Daisies) portraying his wife at the time.

These events with Nick Leeson represent a unique opportunity for people to meet and question the main protagonist in the largest and most significant financial scandal of the 20th century and gain his personal insight into the current economy and the world today.

Speech Topics

Nick Leeson speaks regularly around the world to companies and organisations from all industries and corporate sectors including financial institutions, insurance companies, security firms, the IT sector and educational facilities including MBA business schools and universities.

“The Failings of Barings Bank - Risk, Compliance & Transparency; How It Is Still Relevant Today?”
Following the worst global recession on record and in the aftermath of the AIB trading scandal in New York, together with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Enron and Worldcom, Nick Leeson provides a fascinating insight into the continuing failures of senior and middle management at large corporations around the world who still fail to adequately protect shareholders and customers.

Topics covered by Nick Leeson within his standard presentation include:
• Risk Management
• Corporate Responsibility & Governance
• Compliance, Control and Transparency
• Managing Change and Consolidation
• Importance of Communication and Information Sharing
• Knowledge is Nothing Without Understanding
• Creating The Right Culture in The Organisation
• Transparency Will Outlast Charisma - The ‘Celebrity’ Culture
• Technology - Focus on Analysis and Correlation, Not Just Alerts
• Information to Safeguard is Always there, its Just Whether or Not You Use it

“Rogue Trading: My Story - An Insider's Perspective by Nick Leeson”
When a keynote speech is a little on the heavy side, Nick Leeson offers an after dinner presentation which is his own personal story and account of the collapse of Barings Bank. It has a number of human interest aspects that will astound any audience, so his talks are far from restricted to the world of suits and power lunches that he used to frequent in the early 90s

Nick speaks openly and candidly about Barings and the lack of accounting safeguards that ultimately led to the bank’s collapse, his capture and confinement for 9 months in a Frankfurt prison before being extradited and sentenced by the Singapore court for forgery and cheating. It includes his personal account of spending four and a half years in a gang-ridden Singaporean Jail, the stress of going through divorce and beating colon cancer whilst still in jail and in treacherous conditions.

Where conditions and time allow, Nick often incorporates video clips into both his keynote and after dinner speeches. These contain a mix of real-life interviews with the Barings management following the collapse, news reports at the time from around the world and also extracts from the 1999 Hollywood movie and dramatisation of Nick’s book “Rogue Trader” starring Ewan McGregor.


Nick Leeson provided the keynote talk at our Risky Business Summit event in Dublin in February 2015. The feedback on Nick from our attendees was universally excellent. He covered key themes that included; risk, compliance, transparency and his perception on the world of regulation as it stands in 2015. Nick had obviously spent a good amount of time in preparing for the event and understood our solutions, the audience, the key themes we wanted to cover, and was eager to ask a number of questions that would allow him to optimise his involvement. I would definitely recommend Nick (and in fact already have!) without hesitation. Great job!

Thomson Reuters.

We wanted a different approach to our Compliance training this year, which Nick Leeson provided. His session was highly thought provoking and Nick painted a stark picture of the devastating effects of failing to take the right approach to risk management and compliance. Challenging, stimulating – and entertaining. Many thanks.

NBC Universal.

There was some doubt within our organisation if we had made the right choice with Nick Leeson speaking at our client event. However in short – Nick has evaporated all that doubt and his speech was very well received, by our clients as well as SimCorpers. His messages were spot-on for the theme of the conference. And internally: ‘Picking Nick Leeson as a keynote speaker was a bold move from the marketing team and one that paid off. He talked to a standing room only audience, was very honest and left us all with something to think about around compliance and risk.’ Please thank Nick for making a difference to this year’s conference.

Barbara Hennekens, Head of Corporate Marketing — SimCorp A/S.

Once again, I wanted to thank Nick Leeson for coming to speak at our Financial Services Away-Day. Speaking to my colleagues afterwards, they all enjoyed his very timely observations about the continued challenges of risk management at many leading financial institutions. Nick Leeson's talk also fitted in very well with our own internal discussions about how we can best help our clients in these times of economic uncertainty.

McKinsey & Company.

Nick Leeson spoke very openly and candidly about his experiences which made him very likeable. I watched the delegates when he was speaking and he totally captured everyone's attention. It was also great for Nick to take questions from the floor - you never quite know what you're going to get. Really good job!

RSA Conference Europe.

I lost count of the number of people who have told me how much they enjoyed your speech earlier this week at the Finance Leaders day at IBM Business Connect 2016. Your story is a fascinating one and you make it very easy for your audience to imagine themselves in your shoes: there but for the grace of God goes many an unsuspecting person, I think. Your contribution to the day was even more powerful than I had expected and the audience were engaged in a way that I have rarely seen at similar events.

Paul Campion, IBM.

Nick Leeson was informative, engaging and entertaining! He has an amazing story to tell and does a very good job of telling it. Not only that, Nick goes the extra mile and spent a lot of time with our guests before and after the event, He was great value for money.

British Insurance Brokers Association.

Nick Leeson was an excellent speaker. A story told in such a humble way, honest and to the point. A real insight into how things can go drastically wrong and the resulting consequences.

Gazprom Marketing & Trading Limited.

Exclusive Interview

As part of our NMP Live Meets... interview series, Nick Leeson took time out of a busy schedule to sit down with us for an exclusive chat. Watch the video below and find out what he can bring to your event.

Books and DVDs

Clients often ask about purchasing books for giveaways and delegate packs. Below you’ll find a selection of products by Nick Leeson. Click the images to view on Amazon's website. For bulk orders, please speak with your Booking Agent.

To book Nick Leeson, please submit an online enquiry, send us an email or speak with one of our friendly booking agents on +44 (0)1372 361 004.

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Nick Leeson | NMP Live
Nick Leeson

Former rogue trader responsible for the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995

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