Kweku Adoboli began his working life as an operations analyst at UBS Investment Bank. Within three years he was recruited to the ETF and Index desk on the equities trading floor. In 2007, with just 10 months experience as an ETF trader, he was given joint responsibility for the desk’s US$50bn trading book. Through the global financial crisis and after, the UBS ETF Desk was a central driver of the Equities Business’ post-crisis recovery strategy.
In 2011, under pressure to accelerate trading profits through client and proprietary trading, the desk incurred a $2.3bln trading loss to the bank. In 2011 Kweku Adoboli took sole responsibility for the trading loss and systems employed by the desk. Subsequently convicted of fraud, but found not guilty of false accounting, he served half of a seven-year prison sentence. Since release from prison in June 2015, Adoboli has worked with students, academics, regulators, and multi-disciplinary corporate institutions across the UK to help deliver lessons on risk management, ethics, complexity and failure. He’s also worked with the UK Government – including the Counter Terrorism Unit of the UK Special Forces alongside Tony Blair and General Sir Peter Wall, the Bank of England, and ironically the UK Home Office.
Kweku Adoboli has gained a unique understanding of the geopolitical links between global financial, criminal justice and immigration systems, and our wider societies. He is a staunch advocate for cultural and systemic change in the finance industry with a practical and academic focus on ethics, responsible leadership and purposeful – rather than extractive – financial activity. Controversially deported from the UK in November 2018, just as the West endeavours to build its wall to keep out the populations of the Global South, Adoboli now shares his lessons across Africa and the world.
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