Wall Street’s 9 Worst Bets Ever: From Nick Leeson to JPMorgan

In the wake of JPMorgan’s ill-conceived hedging strategy, which cost the bank its sterling reputation along with $2 billion and counting, Advanced Trading decided to highlight some of Wall Street’s worst bets ever.
May 21, 2012

1. Nick Leeson, Barings Bank

Bad bets by Nick Leeson, the original rogue trader, led to $1.4 billion in losses for Barings Bank, helping to sink the 233-year-old firm in 1995. Leeson’s unauthorized trades initially earned handsome profits, but once the tide began to turn Leeson found himself trying in vain to cover his losses through a web of increasingly risky bets. His spectacular failures ultimately netted him 6.5 years in a gang-infested Singapore prison, and led to the demise of a firm so old that it funded the Napoleanic wars, and even helped facilitate the Louisiana Purchase.

[Exclusive Interview With Nick Leeson: An Inside Look at Rogue Trading]

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