Barings is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based investment firm sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed-income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. The firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, has investment professionals in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Barings has over $347 billion in assets under management, more than 1200 external clients, and more than 1800 professionals globally. Barings offers portfolio management and advisory services and serves corporations, endowments, pension plans, and government entities worldwide.
In 1762, John & Francis Baring & Co (Barings) was established by Sir Francis Baring, born as 1st Baronet, son of John Baring—an immigrant from Bremen and founder of a small wool business near Exeter in 1717. In 1792, the bank assisted the financing of the British war effort against the Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. And in 1803, the house of Baring helped finance the Louisiana Purchase by the United States. Three years later, in 1806, the bank was renamed Baring Brothers and Company.
In 2004, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced it would be acquiring Baring Asset Management from Dutch bank and insurer ING Group.
In 1995, Nick Leeson, a derivatives trader for Barings, became notorious for bankrupting the bank. Leeson became a Future and Options office in Singapore and lost over $1 billion of the bank's capital as its head of operations. Leeson was sent to Singapore to execute arbitrage trade, generating small profits from buying and selling future contracts on the Japanese Nikkei 225 in the Osaka Securities Exchange and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange. However, he retained the contracts in the hope of creating much larger profits by betting on the rise of the underlying Nikkei index.
Leeson was caught and sentenced to six and a half years in jail in Singapore after pleading guilty to two counts of "deceiving the bank's auditors and of cheating the Singapore exchange."