Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 17:22 UK

Lehman Brothers: Your stories

Former Lehman Brothers staff Natasha Rogoff and Tineke Purnell

Lehman Brothers, once the fourth-largest US investment bank, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the early hours of 15 September 2008.

You have been telling BBC News how the collapse affected you - and what you have been doing in the year since.


I worked as a software developer at Lehman Brothers' London offices for three years, working on a number of their trading systems.

I was given my month's notice the day after Lehman's share prices plunged. The project I had been working on was cancelled and, for my final four weeks, I was shifted onto a daytime support role. It was then that I decided it might be a good time to dig out an old science fiction novel that I had been writing and give it another try.

Photo: Stephen Sweeney
Stephen Sweeney published his novel after Lehman Brothers folded

I worked on it in the canteen during my last month and continued to do so thereafter when I couldn't find any work.

I actually thought that I was going to be returning to Lehman in a few months, when all the dust had settled. It therefore came as a shock last September when Dominic Byrne announced at 7:30am on Radio 1 that they had gone bankrupt!

To me, Lehman Brothers and all investment banks were invincible institutions. The most that might ever happen to such firms is that they would downsize or merge, but never disappear completely.

Still, I finished my novel, The Honour of The Knights, and published it at the beginning of the year. It's been fairly well received for a self-published novel and sales are good.

I guess the fall of Lehman Brothers gave me the little push I needed to chase after my dream; I'm not sure I'd have done so otherwise.

I've worked a little since, for Vodafone, but am once again back on the job hunt. Not to worry; the time off is giving me a chance to finish up the second book in the trilogy.


"We were left alone by the company management and we had to find a buyer on our own.

We did not get any mails or reassurances from the New York office. We were one of the largest offices of Lehman brothers with 2,500 employees."


Photo: Tineke Purnell
"I was so devastated and thought I would never work again"

It was horrible.

Most people should realise that any big organisation has the people that bring in the money, and then you have mail room assistants, you've got secretaries, catering staff and cleaners.

We were all out of a job when the bank folded. It wasn't just the traders.

Looking back on it now, I'm relieved it's all worked out so well because it was all such a shock at the time. I was so devastated and thought I would never work again.

I'm working for a property company now and I'm really happy.


I invested £7,000 through NDF Administration. The Leaflet stated that capital was secure, but on collapse of Lehman Brothers I have not received any money, and am awaiting response from liquidators.
Bob Mehta, London UK

My wife and I took out £25,000 investments with Meteor Holdings. Unbeknown to us they were underwritten by Lehmans, which wasn't mentioned anywhere in the literature. The literature also states that we are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme but they have not compensated us for this loss. We feel cheated, mislead and nobody is responding to this issue. Price Waterhouse are charging £200m per year to sort out Lehman's and they claim it will take six years. What, and when, will the FSA do something to help us? They want to stretch it out until it is forgotten about.
Henry Mason, South Shields, UK

I left the UK to move to Spain, so I sold my house and put the money in Lehmans preferential shares. I lost the lot. I am currently in contact with the Swiss banking ombudsman, as Barclays didn't advise me properly. The ombudsman have agreed that we have a case.
John Rowlands, Madrid, Spain

I was a student intern at Lehman Brothers during the summer of 2008. I was working there to gain work experience and to earn money for my final year of university, with the hope of a graduate position for the following September. However, when the company went bankrupt, I lost the wages which would have helped me through 2009 and lost the graduate job I was offered for Sept 2009. One year on, I've graduated, but have no job and I'm still no closer to finding out if I will ever be paid.
Sian, Bath, UK

I am in close, almost daily, contact with an employee of Lehman Brothers. He is still working in the same division, in the same office, on the same thing, as he was a year ago, thus disproving the popular belief that Lehman's is defunct. Some of the company is still functional.
Jan Thomas, Nottingham, England

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