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Nick Leeson

Nick Leeson, the trader behind Barings Bank’s collapse, survived prison and cancer to become a renowned speaker. He shares his experiences on resilience, stress management, and recovery, inspiring audiences with his remarkable journey from financial ruin to personal and professional redemption.

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Nick Leeson

About Nick Leeson

In the mid-1980s, Nick Leeson began his banking career as a clerk with Coutts, eventually landing at Barings. Rapidly promoted, he managed a new futures operation on the Singapore Monetary Exchange (SIMEX), earning millions by betting on the Nikkei Index. Nick and his wife Lisa enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, complete with exotic holidays and frequent parties.

Unbeknownst to Barings, Nick was hiding significant losses in an account initially set up to cover a £20,000 mistake by a team member. As losses grew, he continued trading, hoping to recover. Over three months, he purchased more than 20,000 futures contracts worth around $180,000 each, resulting in losses of $1.3 billion—more than the bank’s entire capital and reserves. This led to Barings’ collapse, ending its 233-year history.

Arrested in Frankfurt, Nick was extradited to Singapore and sentenced to six and a half years in prison. His wife Lisa supported him initially, but their marriage ended in divorce. During his imprisonment, Nick battled colon cancer, undergoing chemotherapy that significantly impacted his health.

Released in 1999, Nick faced a new reality: homeless and jobless but determined to rebuild his life. He secured a substantial fee for his book’s serialisation in The Mail, which was later adapted into the film “Rogue Trader” starring Ewan McGregor. In 2001, he pursued a Psychology degree and began a career in public speaking, sharing his life experiences at conferences and events.

Nick’s resilience continued with his second marriage to Leona Tormay, with whom he had a son in 2004. Emphasising a positive mindset and open communication, Nick advised others on coping with stress and adversity. He later became Commercial Manager, then General Manager, and eventually CEO of Galway United Football Club, publishing his second book “Back from the Brink” in 2005. Nick remained with the club until his resignation in 2011, continuing to inspire with his remarkable journey of recovery and resilience.

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