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INTRODUCTION The failure of banks is not unknown and over recent years there have been many cases of banks collapsing The fall of Barings Bank in 1995 generated much publicity at the time but it is now just another example alongside the likes of BCCI What is interesting is how the collapse actually happened Surely one man could not solely be responsible for the fall of such a well-established institution Within this essay the facts surrounding the collapse of Barings will be discussed as well as plausible reasons as to why it happened and possible lessons that can be learnt to perhaps prevent such cases occurring in the future HISTORY At the time of the collapse Baring Brothers Co Ltd BBCo was the longest established merchant banking business in the City of London Since the foundation of the business as a partnership in 1762 it had been privately controlled and had remained independent BBCO was founded in 1890 to carry on the business of the bank in succession to the original partnership In November 1985 Barings plc acquired the share capital of BBCO and became the parent company of the Barings Group In addition to BBCO the other two principal operating companies of Barings plc were Barings Asset Management Limited BAM which provided a wide range of fund and asset management services and Baring Securities Limited BSL itself a subsidiary of BBCO which generally operated through subsidiaries as a broker dealer in the Asia Pacific region Japan Latin America London and New York Barings Futures Singapore BFS was an indirect subsidiary of BSL BFS was originally formed to allow Barings to trade on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange At the time of collapse BFS employed 23 staff BSLs other significant Singaporean subsidiary was Baring Securities Singapore Pte Limited B S S which employed some 115 staff B S Ss principal activity was securities trading From late 1992 to the time
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