Nick Leeson's Error Account


Nick Leeson


Error Account


Aggressive utilization of company financial assets


Self-serving; makes management behave recklessly, can incite account meltdown


Proximity to financial information

Collected by

Warehouse 13







Date of Collection

May 13, 2019



Stock trading maintains the popular image of cunning and fast-living mavericks schmoozing over clients to gamble with their money. Former Baring's Bank broker Nick Leeson fits the archetype pretty handedly. While working as a broker, the UK's oldest merchant bank profited millions from his unauthorized trades. But mistakes forced Leeson to dip into an error account to hide any losses, which would normally hold compensation payments for future needs. Being his own supervisor made it easier to hide any discrepancies in accounts.

In early 1995, Leeson speculated the Asian markets would stay level overnight. Surprise - a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Kobe. Losses ballooned to £827 million (US$1.4 billion). After two centuries of service, Baring's was forced into bankruptcy. Leeson was jailed for six years and released, now serving as a public speaker and most recently, Big Brother contestant.


The collected account was number 88888. Eight by itself is considered to be an extremely lucky number according to Chinese traditions. Repetitions make it even more powerful. However, it also states the value of 5 means "not", turning any numeric associations into its opposite.


Known to jump between accounts when it feels a killing can be made, changing chunks of the identification digits with eight. Will shift assets around, take chances with riskier corporations and invest in likely to default clients. Whatever deal seems too daunting or financially flimsy for the weak willed is what the account gravitates towards.

All transactions will generate some approval from on high, either from the director's board or corporate leader, to further sway resources in its direction. Also, the bosses will love taking note of their brilliant plan and want to reinforce their leadership among their peers. Profits can be accessed by any senior manager with the account information. However, one bad investment will cause a chain reaction leading to poor management and short-term mistakes. The account merely shrugs the difficulty off and bounces to another person or company.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.