Lawrence McDonald

Lawrence McDonald

Lehman Brothers Insider and Best-Selling Author

Speaker Categories: Finance Industry | Corporate Culture | Risk Management | Headliners

Travels From: NY, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: $20,001 to $40,000*

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Lawrence McDonald Bio
Speaker Topics

Lehman Brothers Insider and Best-Selling Author

From 2004-2008, Larry was Vice President of Distressed Debt and Convertible Securities Trading at Lehman Brothers. He ran an extremely successful joint venture between the firm’s fixed income and equity division. Larry was considered one of the most profitable traders, leading his team into betting against the subprime mortgage crisis. Larry was an integral part within Lehman Brothers who tried in vain to prevent the firm from collapsing.

Lehman Brothers Insider

At the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Lawrence McDonald wrote a book on the fall of Lehman Brothers, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers. In his book, Larry details his experience working as Vice President at Lehman Brothers and provides a behind-the-scenes look on why one of the most prominent investment banks failed.


The book is a risk manager’s guide to all the right and wrong moves, and explains why investors must stay ahead of policy moves coming out of Washington and Europe. Published in 2009 by Random House, Colossal Failure hit the New York Times Best Seller’s list in its first five days on the bookshelves, and is now considered one of the bestselling business books in the world. Colossal Failure is now translated into 12 different languages.

Leading Risk Manager

Larry’s skill set is unique. He has taken billion risks on a trading floor, and is a world-class European & Washington policy risk analyzer. At Lehman Brothers, he was consistently one of the most profitable traders at the firm. As one of the leading risk managers and bond traders today, Larry is a frequent guest contributor on Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes, MSN Money, Fox Business and the Huffington Post.

Political Policy Expert

Larry is a highly regarded political policy risk consultant to hedge funds, family offices, asset managers and high net worth investors. His 17 Lehman risk indicators help investors get in front of painful risk off trades in the global markets. Notably is Larry’s involvement as special advisor to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), created by Congress in 2009 to investigate the causes, domestic and global, of the economic and financial crisis in the United States.


Additionally, Mr. McDonald has participated in three major financial crisis documentaries: Sony Pictures Academy Award winning documentary the Inside Job, BBC‘s The Love of Money and CBC‘s House of Cards.

Keynote Speaker

Since publishing Colossal Failure, Larry has delivered over 100 keynote speeches in 17 different countries, speaking at Banks, Investment Firms, Conferences, Law Firms, Insurance Companies and Universities.

Prior to Lehman Brothers

Mr. McDonald was Co-Founder and COO of, a website coined by Forbes Magazine as “Best of the Web” from 2000-2003 as the World Wide Web’s premier source for convertible securities information with news, valuation, terms, and analysis tools for convertible securities.  In October 1999, the website was successfully sold to Morgan Stanley where it remains property of the firm. Larry began his career working as a successful retail financial adviser helping individual investors build wealth, starting with Merrill Lynch in 1990 and then moving to Citigroup’s Smith Barney division.

A Close Look at Global Systemic Risk

Global Economic Outlook: 2015 and Beyond

China & Japan: The Epicenter of Risk and Unimaginable Debt

The Rise of Emerging Market Economies

Investment Risk Management

The Latest Market Moving Policy out of Washington DC

  • A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers
    A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers Purchase Book

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Recent Books

  • A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers
    A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers Purchase Book


  • "Larry's presentation is a treasure chest full of Business Ethics, Sustainability and Risk Management Lessons."

    Harvard Business School
  • "Larry gave us a very unique perspective on corporate risk and was highly entertaining."

    IBM Finance Forum
  • "Fantastic lecture. The clients loved it. Packed with lifelong trading and risk management lessons."

    Danske Bank, Norway
  • "A very clever way to use the past mistakes to predict the future. His lecture about global market risk was extremely valuable for our team of asset managers."

    Hartford Mutual Funds
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