Mon, Feb 21, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Ten years later: Barings survivors

WHAT NEXT?Ten years ago, the merchant bank's spectacular collapse led to the destruction of many high-flying careers; what happened to them?


None of Nick Leeson's colleagues at Barings met quite so extreme a punishment as Singapore's Changi jail. But the rogue trader's activities led to the destruction of many glittering careers.

Peter Baring, Barings' chairman and once a leading patriarch of the financial world, will be remembered as the man who presided over the collapse of a firm his ancestors founded two centuries before.

Unsurprisingly, he foresook the Square Mile, as the City of London's financial district is known, and retreated to his country estate, where he lives in quiet retirement.

At least Baring escaped censure from the authorities. Many others were on the sharp end of Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) investigations into their roles in Barings' demise.

Among them was Ron Baker, head of debt financial products and effectively Leeson's immediate superior, who was disqualified as a company director.

So were Geoffrey Broadhurst, head of the banking group at Barings Investment Bank, Tony Hawes, its treasurer, and Anthony Gamby, the director of settlements.

George Maclean, group head of banking and a Barings employee for 30 years, also received a boardroom ban. Little has been heard about any of them since.

Others are known to have restarted their business careers. James Bax, regional manager of Barings' southeast Asia operations, was disqualified as a company director for four years for "very serious failures of management," and was accused in a report commissioned by Singapore's finance ministry of "trying to divert investigations by the external auditors."

Bax eventually moved back to his native Scotland.

After getting a four-year DTI ban, Peter Norris, the former chief executive of Barings Investment Bank, turned up at John Brown Enterprises, publishers of the adult comic Viz.

He later worked for the private equity firm New Boathouse Capital and got involved in film finance.

He also advises Sir Richard Branson and Virgin on corporate matters.

Andrew Tuckey, the former group deputy chairman, has bounced back impressively from his DTI ban.

Always a highly rated corporate financier, he has worked as an adviser or consultant to blue-chip institutions like Lloyds, DLJ, Credit Suisse First Boston and Bridgewell Capital.

At Bridgewell, he recently advised GWR Group on its ?337 million takeover by Capital Radio.

Few emerged completely unscathed from the Barings meltdown, however.

Even Ian Hopkins, the group treasurer whose warnings of the danger in Singapore went unheeded, ended up with a five-year DTI ban, and a severe reprimand from the Securities and Futures Authority.

Mary Walz, former global head of equity derivatives in London, did not suffer the full effect of the affair until later. Up to December 1996, when she failed in her attempt to sue ING Barings for a pound ?500,000 bonus she said she had been promised before the collapse, Walz had come through relatively untouched.

Despite being accused in the Bank of England's report on the affair of failing to check on Singapore trading, Walz had evaded a SFA ban on taking senior City jobs.

After failing to get her bonus, however, she was given a DTI ban and is believed to have since returned to her native America.

Nor was the Barings experience a happy one for Coopers and Lybrand, its former auditor. Now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, it was reprimanded by the accountancy watchdog and only escaped a ?1billion negligence lawsuit by settling for an undisclosed sum in 2002.

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