Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nick Leeson Junior...

The title to this post is misleading. Nick Leeson is nothing to be compared to him. Back in 1995, Leeson lost 860 million pounds and broke Barings Bank. Jerome Kerviel, however, lost a whopping 3.7 billion pounds BUT didn't manage to break the bank (Société Générale in this case).

Credit must be given to Leeson, who managed to put Singapore on the map and captured the British imagination 13 years back. Through Leeson, the world was given a tour round Singapore's judiciary system and of course the infamous Queenstown Remand Prison, where he was held for some time. Actually, those who are familiar with that area will know that it's smacked in the middle of a rather nice area with good food, decent schools and some private housing. It's indeed a much misunderstood area. Seeing Singapore's police (in dark blue uniforms) leading Leeson through the crowds is kind of nostalgic though.

Anyway, back to the story... Kerviel, with a yearly salary of 75k pounds, is the equivalent of a 'teaboy', in BBC's words, when compared with big shot traders in the City. One would have thought that banks have learnt from what happened to Leeson. Apparently they've not. It was alleged in the article that he singlehandedly caused the steep losses at Dow Jones on Monday.

More money has been robbed with a click of a mouse than at gunpoint. Indeed.
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