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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Aug 19, 2018

Today, we talk fraud. If we think about some of the most prominent frauds in recent history – from the Bernie Madoff scandal, the LIBOR case or the collapse of Enron, they all seem to have a number of complexities to them. However, as you will hear, all fraud follows a simple logic. That logic is based on trust.

 My guest is Dan Davies. Dan is a former regulatory economist with the Bank of England. He has worked at a variety of investment banks and always had a fascination with the many larger-than-life financial scandals in we have all hear about. Scandals like the collapse of Barings Bank caused by rogue trader Nick Leeson (and the subject of the film “Rogue Trader” featuring Ewan McGregor), the Swiss Nazi gold case, and many more.

Such is Dan’s fascination with fraud that he recently wrote a fascinating book on the topic entitled Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of Our World. This is a very readable book that gives you almost everything you need to know about fraud. Nassim Taleb, of Black Swan fame says that “if you want to learn to fend fraud, read this. And if you want to commit fraud…don’t. But if you absolutely must, read this first.”

We get into the various topics covered in the book including:

  • The concept of the “optimum level of fraud” in and economy – this sounds counter-intuitive but because both fraud and economic growth depend on trust, there will always be a level of fraud in an advanced economy;
  • The types and characteristics of fraud;
  • The mechanics of different types of fraud, including lots of examples;
  • Rogue traders;
  • Why frauds have a “snowball effect”;
  • The role of primal, human emotions in fraud
  • Much more

Show notes:

Lying for Money at Amazon’s UK site

Dan on Twitter

Frontline Analysts

Mentioned during the episode:

The Barings Bank collapse

The Nazi gold case

The Savings and Loan scandal

Silk road

The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

The Smartest Guys in the Room – The Amazing Rise and the Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates

The 1980s Medicare fraud

The UK Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) Scandal

“ Enron’s Open Secrets” by Malcolm Gladwell

Fred Goodwin

The Kray Twins

Triumph of the Optimists by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton

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