18 Facts About Barings Bank


Barings Bank was a British merchant bank based in London, and one of England's oldest merchant banks after Berenberg Bank, Barings' close collaborator and German representative.

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Barings Bank was founded in 1762 as the John and Francis Baring Company by Francis Baring, with his older brother John Baring as a mostly silent partner.

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Barings Bank began in offices off Cheapside in London, and within a few years moved to larger quarters in Mincing Lane.

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Barings Bank helped to finance the United States government during the War of 1812.

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Barings Bank remained a powerful firm and in the 1830s the leadership of new American partner Joshua Bates, together with Thomas Baring, son of Sir Thomas Baring, 2nd Baronet, began a turnaround.

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In 1832, a Barings Bank office was established in Liverpool specifically to capitalize on new North American opportunities.

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In 1843, Barings Bank became an exclusive agent to the US government, a position it held until 1871.

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Barings Bank was next appointed by Sir Robert Peel to supply "Indian corn" to Ireland for famine relief between November 1845 and July 1846, after the staple potato crop failed.

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Barings Bank declined to act beyond 1846, when the government instructed it to restrict its purchases to within Britain.

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Barings Bank helped to finance major railways including Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

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Barings Bank did not return to issuance on a substantial scale until 1900, concentrating on securities in the United States and Argentina.

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Barings Bank established ties with King George V, thus beginning a close relationship with the British monarchy that would endure until Barings' collapse in 1995.

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Barings Bank was brought down in 1995 by a massive trading loss caused by fraudulent trading by its head derivatives trader in Singapore since 1992, Nick Leeson.

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However, Barings Bank circumvented normal accounting, internal control and audit safeguards by making Leeson head of settlement operations for SIMEX, charged with ensuring accurate accounting for the unit.

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Barings Bank reported to British tax authorities a £102 million profit.

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Barings Bank falsified trading records in the bank's computer systems and used money intended for margin payments on other trading.

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Barings Bank was declared insolvent on 26 February 1995, and appointed administrators began managing the finances of Barings Bank Group and its subsidiaries.

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On 5 April 2007, The Guardian newspaper reported that KPMG, the liquidators of Barings Bank, had sold a trading jacket thought to have been worn by Nick Leeson while trading on SIMEX in Singapore.

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