Firm denies Barings link

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Ross Capital Markets, a Bermuda-based firm in the hedge fund business, yesterday denied market rumours that it was one of the big investors that dealt with Baring Securities in the derivatives market.

After a day in which traders played a game of guessing which players in the market had brought Barings down by betting against its positions, David Prance, financial controller of Ross, said reports of his firm's involvement were absolute rubbish. "We did not have a relationship with Barings in Singapore. We did have a relationship with Barings in Tokyo, but we did little derivatives trading with them."

Mr Prance added "We are obviously fairly upset that our name is being put around. If we knew who was saying it, we would be taking legal advice."

Mr Prance believes Nick Leeson of Barings was betting on his own that the Japanese share market would stay high. However, dealers said that with Barings seen to be buying futures on the Nikkei index in large numbers, there was a natural risk that, once other big investors caught wind of its position, they would bet against it.

Although most assumed Barings was buying on behalf of a large client, this would not have changed their perception.

Most of the big names in the futures and options market, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, were suggested as likely to have been trading against Barings by selling derivatives once it became clear Mr Leeson was going out on a limb. But rather than a conspiracy this was seen as part of the normal cut and thrust of trading.