The pivotal conference call
November 20, 2012 2 Comments
You might not know it from listening to it, but this phone call between $2-billion-losing UBS trader Kweku Adoboli and his back office/collateral management is one of the most dramatic pieces of audio you’ll ever hear. In two brief minutes all the ingredients of a great drama are there:
- the ever-polite back office tentatively but resolutely questioning the big-shot rogue trader and his bookings (“seems a bit strange…”)
- the big-shot trader initially speaking down to them like they’re idiots wasting his time (“if you could explain to me what you understand an asset to be”, DUMMY)
- but as we know, back office were right (for once!) HA!
- the hammer is dropped and Consequences loom (if the trades are real, “we will need to call collateral”) – the trader can no longer hide – the jig is up
- the cliffhanger (Adoboli says: “I’ll come back to you in a few minutes.” Reportedly, he never does, and leaves the building just minutes later.)
Personally, I think this would make a great cat-and-mouse movie, and this phone call is the final scene where the protagonist (whichever back-office guy this was) finally catches the bad-guy.
Of course, maybe that all doesn’t quite work. I don’t know the whole story, but I guess if these back-office guys had really been detective-sharp, they wouldn’t have let him get away with the fake bookings in the first place, for months and months or however-long this was. But even if so, you could take some license for dramatic effect.
I’ll draft up a spec treatment and contact my agent.