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Frozen Assets: How I Lived Iceland's Boom and Bust

ISBN: 978-0-470-74954-8
276 pages
November 2009
Frozen Assets: How I Lived Iceland


Iceland truly lived the boom and bust. Once a tiny country on the edge of Europe, in less than two decades it became a global financial powerhouse.

This is the story of how one man, one bank and one country experienced and affected the course of world economic history. Armann Thorvaldsson, a former CEO at Kaupthing in the UK, tells the story of how his company was transformed into a £6 billion international bank, by far the largest in his country’s history. Helping to build the biggest names in Icelandic business, Thorvaldsson represented the money behind such household names as easyJet, Matalan, Iceland and Karen Millen. As the boom got bigger, the Icelandic bankers worked and played hard with their international clients, including Gordon Ramsay, the Candy brothers, Mike Ashley and Robert Tchenguiz. Moving from Reykjavik to London, Monte Carlo and St Tropez, they seemed unstoppable.

Yet, when the bust came, even the most frantic attempts to save the bank were fruitless, leading to the total collapse of the Icelandic economy. Thorvaldsson’s reflections on exactly what happened and why, make compelling reading.

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Table of Contents


1 A Catalyst is Born.

2 The Financial Caterpillar.

3 Rattling the Cage.

4 The Grand Master Syndrome.

5 Empire-Building.

6 Where Does the Money Come From?!

7 London Calling.

8 The Champagne Island.

9 The Beginning of the End.

10 The Perfect Storm.

11 The Hangover.




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Author Information

Armann Thorvaldsson is the former CEO of Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander, the UK subsidiary of the Icelandic Kaupthing Bank. He was previously head of Kaupthing’s Investment Banking division, and was instrumental in the international expansion of the bank. He holds an MBA from Boston University. Armann now lives in London with his family.
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