The September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers is the most-cited event of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1920’s. Lehman’s bankruptcy filing with a Balance Sheet of over 600 Billion Dollars was not just the biggest ever, but roughly 10 times the size of the previous record set infamously a few years earlier (Enron in 2001).
This seismic event has been the subject of many articles, books and movies, but the talk will provide a fresh perspective, covering a lot of new ground – such as the little-known actions and events that occurred years before the collapse which contributed significantly to the final outcome. The corporate culture and the key players – and how they responded as the crisis unfolded – will be brought to life through the speaker’s personal experience and interactions. An epilogue will consider how the event changed the world of banking and finance, as well as the public discourse on the relationship between Capitalism and Democracy. Though it is an event that lingers in the public memory for various reasons, the human dimension was perhaps the most interesting of all – and this talk traced the lives and paths of some of the key players after the collapse.
P T Rajan, Dr
Dr. P. T. Rajan (Thiaga) is based in Singapore, and recently left his role as Managing Director, Financial Markets Sales in the Wholesale Banking Division of Standard Chartered Bank. He is currently serving out a non-compete clause from his contract with SCB. In his last role, he was responsible for all Money Markets, Foreign Exchange flows resulting from all Commercial Banking activities, and sales across all Electronic Channels from Financial Markets operations globally. He joined the bank in the Capital Markets business in 2010, and subsequently moved over to the Sales function in 2011.
Thiaga returned to India in 2007 after 20 years in the US to head the Offshore Capital Markets efforts for Lehman Brothers. In this role Thiaga built up and managed a team of about 300 people engaged in research, structuring and trading of global equity and debt securities, and providing prime services for global hedge funds. In early 2008 he also took responsibility for the Mortgage Capital Division which consisted of about 160 people engaged in the processing and servicing of US and UK residential mortgages originated or acquired by Lehman and its subsidiaries.