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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 44

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Classic Financial Scandals

"Bankers who hire money hungry geniuses should not always express surprise and amazement when some of them turn around with brilliant, creative, and illegal means of making money." “The quotation is from a speech by the financial thriller writer on the Psychology of Risk, Speculation and Fraud, at a conference on EMU in Amsterdam. Barings Bank collapsed when one of the Singapore based employees of London's Barings Bank, Nick Leeson, lost £827 million (US$1.4 billion) - primarily on futures contract speculation. Leeson's actions led the oldest merchant bank to default on its debts. The bank's collapse is considered a pivotal turning point in the history of banking and has become a textbook example of accounting fraud.

• Internal auditing

The way that Barings Bank's activities in Singapore were organized between 1992 and 1995 enabled Leeson to operate effectively without supervision from Barings Bank's head office in London. Leeson acted both as head of settlement operations (charged with ensuring accurate accounting) and as floor manager for Barings' trading on Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX). Normally the positions would have been held by two employees. This concentration of functions placed Leeson in the position of reporting to an office inside the bank which he himself held. Several observers, including Leeson, placed much of the blame on the bank's own deficient internal auditing and risk management practices.

• Corruption

Because of the absence of oversight, Leeson was able to make seemingly small gambles in the futures market at Barings Futures Singapores (BFS) and cover for his shortfalls by reporting losses as gains to Barings in London. Specifically, Leeson altered the branch's error account, subsequently known by its account number 88888 as the "five-eight account," to prevent the London office from receiving the standard daily reports on trading, price, and
status. Leeson claims the losses started when one of his colleagues bought contracts when she should have sold them. By December 1994 Leeson had cost Barings £200 million but he reported to British tax authorities a £102 million profit. If the company had uncovered his true financial dealings then, collapse might have been avoided as Barings had capital of £350 million

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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 36

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Role of Insurance Companies

Types of insurance

Any risk that can be quantified can potentially be insured. Specific kinds of risk that may give rise to claims are known as "perils". An insurance policy will set out in detail which perils are covered by the policy and which is not.

  • Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of the many different types of insurance that exist. A single policy may cover risks in one or more of the categories set forth below. For example, auto insurance would typically cover both property risk (covering the risk of theft or damage to the car) and liability risk (covering legal claims from causing an accident). A homeowner's insurance policy in the U.S. typically includes property insurance covering damage to the home and the owner's belongings, liability insurance covering certain legal claims against the owner, and even a small amount of health insurance for medical expenses of guests who are injured on the owner's property.
  • Automobile insurance, known in the UK as motor insurance, is probably the most common form of insurance and may cover both legal liability claims against the driver and loss of or damage to the insured's vehicle itself. Throughout most of the United States an auto insurance policy is required to legally operate a motor vehicle
    on public roads. In some jurisdictions, bodily injury compensation for automobile accident victims has been changed to a no-fault system, which reduces or eliminates the ability to sue for compensation but provides automatic eligibility for benefits. Credit card companies insure against damage on rented cars.
  • Aviation insurance insures against hull, spares, deductible, hull war and liability risks.
  • Boiler insurance (also known as boiler and machinery insurance or equipment breakdown insurance) insures against accidental physical damage to equipment or machinery.
  • Builder's risk insurance insures against the risk of physical loss or damage to property during construction. Builder's risk insurance is typically written on an "all risk" basis covering damage due to any cause (including the negligence of the insured) not otherwise expressly excluded.
  • Business insurance can be any kind of insurance that protects businesses against risks. Some principal subtypes of business insurance are (a) the various kinds of professional liability insurance, also called professional indemnity insurance, which are discussed below under that name; and (b) the business owners policy (BOP), which bundles into one policy many of the kinds of coverage that a business owner needs, in a way analogous to how homeowners insurance bundles the coverage that a homeowner needs.

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