The Economist today reports the sale by ING of Baring Asset Management;
ING agreed to sell Baring Asset Management to two American firms. Northern Trust will pay the Dutch giant some �260m ($489m) for Baring's financial-services business, while MassMutual will pay an undisclosed sum for the investment-management business.
I was at BAM when Nick Leeson and the management succeeded in selling the business to ING for GBP1 and some fairly large debts. Given what came later at LTCM it was pretty small fish.
It was a great learning experience. My boss, Richard Sobel, taught me a huge amount about the Russian venture capital, private equity business. What the organization taught me though was as important. Treat people like human beings and not as cattle. Seniority, or time served, does not equal a divine right to be respected or paid like a king whilst the performers are kept down in concerns about over-spending.
I joined BAM pretty much straight out of the Army. The Army is a hierachical organization but it was clear when orders were being followed because they were orders and when it was done from respect. Senior management never learnt that lesson.