Please join us for canapes, networking and a talk by Kweku Adoboli.
Kweku Adoboli's journey - from investment banking intern, to trader managing a $50bln trading book, to prison, deportation and back again - has been a deeply personal one leading to a unique understanding of institutional behaviour in global financial institutions, U.K. criminal justice and penal systems, immigration policies and human rights laws.
By openly considering the root causes for what happened in the lead up to sending an email taking responsibility for a $2.3bln loss on his trading book, in light of personal and institutional choices, he delivers his lessons to be shared in a visceral and impactful way to help industry executives, professionals and students make a little sense of our rapidly changing world.
Title of the Talk - Responsibility and Freedom - The Search for Purpose in our Global Society
- The effect of excess conflict, complexity, competition, pressure, the moral grey zone and failure
- Why we must reconsider the purpose of our institutions and redesign our systems to meet our global social contract
- Re-defining leadership for the 21st Century
More about Kweku
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, England at the age of 12. Embracing the egalitarian values of Ackworth, the Quaker boarding school he attended, Kweku 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 given 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 late summer 2007, with queues forming outside Northern Rock as what was first dubbed a "credit crunch" morphed into the Great Financial Crisis, Kweku's direct manager resigned from the firm and he and another marginally more senior colleague were asked to assume control of over $50bln of assets. Although they only had 30 months experience between them and had very little other resources, the two young traders did everything in their power 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 the year, they were asked by senior management to increase their risk tolerances and profitability further. By August they realised the true cost of pushing too hard in pursuit of the corporate and institutional goals they’d been handed. 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 with both judge and jury accepting that he had never acted in pursuit of personal gain. Nevertheless, he was judged guilty of two counts of fraud and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Having served half of his term, Kweku was released in June 2015.
Currently embroiled in a complex legal battle to resist deportation by the UK Home Office - despite having lived in the UK for a quarter century - Kweku is dedicated to helping others learn from his unique experience in an effort to contribute to restoration of the social contract through positive cultural and systemic change in our finance industry and beyond. Now 36 years old, he is an accomplished, engaging and inspirational keynote speaker who has spoken to audiences as diverse as the sixth-formers at Camden School for Girls; postgraduate students at Edinburgh University; CFA Charter Holders; FTSE 100 Leaders at the FT Global Banking Summit; members of the FT 125; fellows of the Forward Institute and the Oxford Students Union.