A BELFAST financial firm has signed up Rogue Trader-turned-banking expert Nick Leeson to help companies here solve their money woes and escape from bankruptcy.
And it's been revealed that the partnership was formed thanks to a meeting at 2012's Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, where Mr Leeson was guest speaker.
He will join Conor Devine and James Gibbons as a principal of GDP Partnership, which has offices in the city's Scottish Provident Building and new premises in Dublin.
The company offers bank mediation, restructuring, asset management, corporate finance and real estate advice.
Mr Leeson, who has been based in Galway for the last decade, said that if banks and governments are able to financially restructure, small firms and business people must be allowed to do the same.
He is no stranger to bouncing back from the brink – after his role in the collapse of Barings Bank in the 1990s, his jailing, cancer diagnosis and divorce, he has battled back to become a well regarded author, public speaker and financial expert – and was even CEO of a football team in his new home city.
"People are starting to realise that banks are being bailed out, people are being pulled down by austerity measures, we are being additionally taxed so that the EU and IMF can be paid, everybody else seems to be getting a good deal, why can't I?" he said
"People sometimes don't understand how many options they have. When the banks can go and restructure their debts, why is it so unreasonable for a small business to do the same?
"GDP are doing a great job in helping people understand their options – and there are a lot more options than going straight for bankruptcy.
"It's not the answer, it's not good for anyone long term and it is not a solution, it can often raise just as many problems and each business should be looked at on a case-by-case basis."
Conor Devine said that Nick Leeson was "an excellent fit" for the firm.
"We got chatting at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards and we think that Nick can add a real sense of gravitas to what we are doing.
"No one has a better skillset than Nick Leeson. He understands the system, he knows business and he seemed a natural fit for what we are doing.
"Economic indicators show that the situation both North and South is not going to improve any time soon and companies cannot continue to go bankrupt.
"People at the moment are falling into three categories – the richest people who will always do well, those who are running out of money and those who have run out of money.
"Nowadays everyone – be it accountants, estate agents, surveyors – seems to work for the bank.
"Our unique selling point is that we don't work for any of the banks."
Liabilities which Nick Leeson's risk-taking led to while bankrupting Barings Bank60
Jobs at risk if clients of GDP go bankrupt over rates bills which they are challenging
New residential homes which could be built at site of the former Belvoir Park Hospital