DISCIPLINE: ROGUE TRADING
Bronze: (JPN) Toshihide Iguchi
Toshihide Iguchi racked up £706m in losses involving 30,000 unauthorised trades over 11 years. Now, that’s perseverance. In fairness, he did try to ’fess up to his mistakes by writing a letter to the Daiwa Bank president, but was instructed to continue concealing the losses. He was banged up in a New York prison, where he shared gruel with a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, a Mafia hit man, a Hamas leader and members of the Latin Kings street gang. Nice company if you can get it.
SIlver: (GBR) Nick Leeson
The original British bad-boy trader, Nick Leeson brought down Barings in 1995 with losses of £827m. There was no trade he couldn’t take on – or take down – carefully concealing his and his team’s losses in the now infamous 88888 account. After surviving prison in Singapore and colon cancer, Leeson is, like many ‘athletes’, a favourite on the after-dinner speaking circuit. He was even CEO of Galway Football Club for a number of years before, presumably, realising he was as lucky with football as he was with the markets.
Gold: (GHA) Kweku Adoboli
Whether young Adoboli bags the gold or not depends on the photo finish technology (please excuse the slightly torturous Olympic metaphor at this point). As Adoboli still professes his innocence, the result’s pending confirmation. The disgraced UBS trader Kweku Adoboli is accused of a £1.4bn fraud at the London offices of the Swiss banking giant. Initially Adoboli retained Nick Leeson’s solicitors (not at all suspicious), and is now on legal aid. He’s pleaded not guilty to two charges of fraud and of false accounting, and could be behind bars for 10 years if convicted. Plenty of time to polish that medal, then.
DISCIPLINE: LONG DISTANCE
Bronze: (GBR) Anthony Bolton
Anthony Bolton is one of the UK’s best-known investment fund managers and most successful investors, having managed the Fidelity Special Situations fund from December 1979 to December 2007. Over this 28-year period the fund achieved annualised growth of 19.5%. OK, so his fund’s not going so swimmingly out in China – but buy in now while it’s cheap and we still think the boy’ll come good. You can take the man out of the City but you can’t take the City out of the man.
Silver: (GBR) Paul Killik
Paul Killik has spent 42 years in stockbroking, starting at family firm Killik, Cassel Haley & Co in 1969. One of the City’s veteran figures, Killik was one of the first to champion equities for all. He was a pioneer of share shops, originally selling his wares in Debenhams, next to the bedding section, back in 1984. At the helm of Killik & Co since 1989, he’s recently diversified into Killik Employee Services, with eight FTSE 100 companies on board. A true City legend.
Gold: (GBR) David Buik
At 67, David Buik’s career has been a prolific one. In 1962, he’d just failed his A-Levels, when his father said how disappointed he was, and that the only option now was, regrettably, for him to go into a merchant bank. Over the next 50 years, he built up a sterling career, and to TV viewers during the credit crunch became one of the few voices willing to justify the City’s existence. He’s also unashamedly old school, writing once that he loves “curvaceous and buxom wenches of the highest quality”.
Right there with you, David.
Bronze: (USA) Anonymous
In 2005, an American fund manager ran up a £36,000 bar bill after announcing, “the drinks are on me”. The financier said he had been paid an “insane” bonus of more than $3m, so put his black card behind the bar at Baglioni Hotel’s Aviva bar in Kensington and told managers to allow customers whatever they wanted all night. They took him up on his offer, putting away 851 cocktails. He also left a healthy £3,000 tip for good measure.
Silver: (GBR) Six bankers at Barclays Capital
Second place on the podium goes to six Barclay Capital bankers who, in 2001, spent £44,000 on wine at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. Tragically, they left their posts the following year – or were sacked, depending on who you believe – as the City tried to present a more sober image. The bill included a £12,300 bottle of 1947 Petrus, and other wines at £11,600 and £9,400 respectively. Water, champagne, fruit juice and a couple of beers were a snip at £102. And the food was given to them free: not Gord’s usual choice of F word.
Gold: (GBR) Alex Hope
Britain excels again. Just when the financial industry can’t sink lower in the estimation of Joe Public, along comes 23-year-old currency trader Alex Hope, who reportedly spent more than £203,000 in a single night’s drinking. The bill included a 30-litre Midas bottle of Armand de Brignac, the world’s most expensive bottle of champagne (the 45kg bottle had to be carried by two waiters). In a touching gesture, 40 bottles of standard Armand de Brignac were also handed out to all the single ladies in the club, who might be less impressed to discover Hope is now under investigation by the FSA for unauthorised trading. The champagne’s on ice for now, then.
Bronze: (GBR) Ian Wace
Hedge fund hero Ian Wace is one of the founders of the children’s charity Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), alongside Paul Marshall and Arpad Busson. You may recognise him as the chap who walked with Wills and Kate on their first official outing after the wedding of the century – at the annual Ark Gala Dinner. Wace gave away £31.9m of his own hard-earned cash last year alone – not including all the good work he did in raising funds for Ark.
Silver: (GBR) Lord Rothschild
Lord Rothschild has played a prominent part in Arts philanthropy in Britain for more than 25 years. At the invitation of the Prime Minister, he was chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund, responsible for distributing the proceeds of the National Lottery to the heritage sector. Last year he gave away more than £85m. He misses out on the top spot to Cooper-Hohn because, as a proportion of his total wealth (around £465m), it’s not quite up there on the generosity stakes.
Gold: (GBR) Christopher Cooper-Hohn
Last year, Christopher Cooper-Hohn gave away more than £72m. Given that he’s worth a mere £90m, that’s not bad going by anyone’s standards. What’s even more impressive is that this hedgie has now given away a total of more than £1bn since 2006. Much of the money went to the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which is headed by his wife, Jamie. Now that’s keeping it in the family. Unlike his approach to money.
DISCIPLINE: BONUS BAGGING
Bronze: (USA) Lawrence M Coss
Lawrence M Coss received a heck of a bonus in 1996. The CEO of the Green Tea Financial Corporation, which was later acquired by Conseco, received $69.5m that year, though he was later told to return a third of his original, higher bonus. This payment capped $65.1m the year before, and £28.5m in 1994. He retired in 1998. Presumably to count all that lovely lolly.
Silver: (USA) Lloyd Blankfein
The Goldman Sachs supremo Lloyd Blankfein took home £68m in 2007 in restricted stock, options and cash, topping the £54m he was awarded the year before. It was, and is, the largest bonus ever given to a Wall Street CEO, though we should remember Blankfein is, as he told the Times in 2009, “doing God’s work”. We suspect Jesus wasn’t quite so well remunerated for a similar role, however...
Gold: (USA) Adam Levinson
Star trader Adam Levinson received a whopping £156m bonus from Fortress Investments in 2008. He was given the share grant by his employer as a sweetener to prevent him leaving for a competitor. The Detroit-born financier joined Fortress from Goldman Sachs in 2002. On being questioned on the size of the retention bonus, Levinson rebuffed, “I’m worth it”. Though, if it’s between him and Cheryl Cole, I know who I’d put my money on in a bathroom brawl.
DISCIPLINE: PONZI HIGH JUMP
Bronze: (USA) Tom Petters
Tom Petters, [see this month’s Rogue Trader], extended his business interests a little too creatively in 2010 when he orchestrated a $3.65bn Ponzi scheme. Petters’ victims included various hedge funds, pastors, missionaries and retirees, so it’s only fitting that it all ended with a 50-year stretch in a Minnesota jail. Presumably not the sort of Polaroid moment he wants to remember.
Silver: (USA) Allen Stanford
Allen Stanford doesn’t know how long he will face in prison as, at the time of writing, he is still to be sentenced. But, if Petters’ 50 years seems harsh, Stanford faces up to 230. As chairman of the Stanford Financial Group, he was charged in February 2009 with fraud and multiple violations of US security laws. The womanising 6ft 4in Texan banker was convicted in March on all charges except one. Stanford’s personal fortune was once valued at $2.2bn. Now it’s, well, not.
Gold: (USA) Bernie Madoff
Running a fake investment firm while holding down a job as non-exec chairman of the Nasdaq was going really well for Bernie Madoff right up until the point he got caught. He now holds the record for the largest financial fraud in US history, with estimates hitting the $65bn mark. He is serving a 150-year prison sentence and has become a household name for all the wrong reasons.
Not a member?
To share your thoughts sign up now. You'll also be entered into the weekly lunchtime lottery.