Kweku Adoboli kicks off FinTrU Lecture Series at Queen’s
Belfast Financial Services company FinTrU, in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast hosted the first of their new lecture series to provide Thought Leadership in Financial Services in Belfast.
The first lecture, “Financial Crime: Compliance and Culture” took place at Riddel Hall, Queen’s University last night. (Thursday 17 November).
The keynote speaker for the event was former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli, who took responsibility for losses of $2.2 billion by the bank in 2011.
Charged and tried on four counts of false accounting and two counts of fraud by abuse of position, Kweku Adoboli was acquitted of four charges after a very public trial when the jury realised that he had not acted in pursuit of personal gain. He was nevertheless found guilty of two counts of fraud and he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Having served half of his term, he was released from prison in June 2015.
Since his release, Adoboli has volunteered his time helping young adults better understand the pressures and dynamics of the finance industry, whilst helping traders, compliance officers and senior managers at City institutions bring context to the regulatory environment.
Kweku Adoboli said: "If I can help our young future leaders better understand and prepare for the challenges they will face in their careers then my challenges of the last 5 years will have been purposeful.
Ultimately I think the audience should feel hopeful that they can take control of the disorder in our world so as to lead us into the future with solutions focussed less on extractive growth and more on furthering the human cause. I hope that a deeper understanding of how and why things can go wrong in deeply complex and high pressure corporate environments will help empower them to do that."
Professor of Financial Services Donal McKillop moderated the event, which included an expert panel comprised of Kweku Adoboli, Darragh McCarthy (CEO FinTrU) and Patrick Butler (Calitor), a compliance expert.
Professor Donal McKillop said: “You may think it strange for students to be able to learn from someone who has a criminal conviction for financial crime, however it is our job to teach students about the importance of risk management and governance and equally of having strong ethics when moving into their careers.”
According to CEO Darragh McCarthy, this event shows FinTrU’s dedication to being ‘thought leaders’ in the local Financial Services market.
Darragh McCarthy said: “Financial Crime needs to be monitored through robust Compliance processes by all Global Financial Services companies with the long-term objective to change Culture within these organisations. Northern Ireland is an ideal location to perform such value-added Compliance functions given the high quality of talent available in the market and educated at high quality institutions such as Queen’s.”
Queen’s Management School
Queen’s Management School is one of the top business schools in the UK and Ireland and has been established for more than 40 years. A globally renowned centre of management education and research, it enjoys close links with the business community, a dedicated placement office and a financial trading room.
It currently has over 1800 students across its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
It is ranked 4th in the UK for Accounting and Finance (Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014)
FinTrU has grown considerably since its inception in 2013, and now has over 100 employees split between two sites in Belfast. It provides specialist outsourcing solutions to investment banks across legal, risk and compliance services.
Darragh McCarthy - CEO and Founder
Darragh is the CEO and Founder of FinTrU, which he created after spending over 18 years at Morgan Stanley. During his Morgan Stanley career, he had a variety of roles in London, Frankfurt and New York, including: COO for EMEA, Global COO for Institutional Securities Group, Head Fixed Income Sales North America, Head Fixed Income Sales EMEA.
Kweku Adoboli Bio
The son of a United Nations Peacekeeper, Kweku Adoboli spent the first years of his life in Ghana, Israel and Syria before moving to West Yorkshire at the age of 12. Embracing the egalitarian values of his Quaker Boarding school he would eventually become Head Boy before moving on to study and graduate from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Computer Science and Management.
Although he had never planned to become a banker, after an internship in the summer of 2002, Kweku joined UBS Investment Bank as a full time Operations analyst in 2003. His loyalty and work ethic contributed to a stellar rise through the organisation and in January 2006 he was promoted to his first junior trading role before being promoted again 9 months later to become a junior trader on the bank’s rapidly expanding ETF and Index Trading Book in September 2006. In late summer 2007, with queues forming outside Northern Rock as what was first dubbed a Credit Crunch morphed into the Great Financial Crisis, Kweku and a marginally more colleague were asked to assume control of over $50bln of assets when his manager resigned from the firm.
With only 30 months experience between them and very few other resources, the two traders endeavoured to run a book central to the recovery and growth strategies of the UBS Global Equities business. Four years later, in early 2011, despite having delivered $130mln of profit in the first six months of that year, they were asked to increase their risk tolerances and profitability on behalf of UBS. By August the true cost of pushing too hard in pursuit of their corporate and institutional goals came to bear and in September 2011 Kweku Adoboli sent an email to his accountant accepting responsibility for $2.3bln in losses that had been incurred on the desk.
Arrested, charged and tried on 4 counts of false accounting and 2 counts of fraud by abuse of position, Kweku was acquitted of four charges after a very public trial when his jury realised that he had not acted in pursuit of personal gain. Nevertheless they found him guilty of two counts of fraud and he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Having served half of his term, Kweku was released from prison in June 2015.
Despite being in the midst of a difficult legal battle against the UK Home Office which is disproportionately trying to deport him to the country of his birth - where he has not lived since he was 4 years old - Kweku is dedicated to helping others learn from his unique experience in an effort to contribute to positive cultural and systemic change in the finance industry. He has delivered keynote speeches to audiences as diverse as the sixth formers at Camden School for Girls; postgraduate students at Edinburgh University; CFA Charter Holders; Executive Leaders at the FT Global Banking Summit; and compliance, anti-fraud and conduct professionals at the London Fraud Forum annual conference.
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