Showing posts with label Credit Crisis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Credit Crisis. Show all posts

Jan 17, 2010

Once-in-a-Century Credit Tsunami

When will the next crisis happen and what magnitude will it be?
Investor or actuary, this question puzzles our mind, isn't it?

In the Financial Analysts Journal (January/February 2010) professors Guofu Zhou and Yingzi Zhu raised a similar key question:

Actually Zhou and Zhu did research on a 'October 2008 congress quote' by Alan Greenspan:

We are in the midst of a 'once in a century' credit tsunami


Zhou and Zhu Research
Given the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped more than 50 percent, from 14,164 on 9 October 2007 to 6,547 on 9 March 2009, Zhou and Zhu answered the question whether a drop of 50% would be likely to occur once in a century.

Using daily data on the DJIA from 26 May 1896 to 19 June 2008, Zhou and Zhu estimated the long-term average DJIA-return (sample) at µ = 7.4% (excluding dividends) and the long-term volatility, known as the sample standard deviation, at s = 18.2% a year.

DowJones Industrial Average
May 1896 - June 2008
Average return: 7,4%
Standard deviation: 18.2%

On basis of the long-term data, Zhou and Zhu calculated the probability for the market to drop more than 50 percent from a high to a low over a 100-year horizon, considering two different models:
  1. Random Walk Model, excluding dividend
  2. Long Run Risks Model: complex dynamic simulation model, including consumption growth, dividend growth and asset prices

Here is the summarized outcome of their calculations:

As is clear on basis of the Long-Term Risks Model (LTR-Model), no matter what average return or standard deviation, the probability of a 50% draw down over a 100-year horizon is practically almost 100%.

50% draw down over an n-year horizon?
Given these results of Zhou and Zhu, we can now easily and (very) roughly approximate the probability, P(n), of a 50% draw down over an n-year horizon.

with r= P(1). We now roughly 'fit' P(n) to the results of the Long-Term Risks Model as follows:

It turns out the LTR-Models roughly corresponds with one year '50% draw downs probabilities' between r=4% and r=10% [r=P(1)].
As is clear from the table above, even over a 10-year period there's a substantial probability, somewhere between 33% and 65%, of a 50% market breakdown.

Also we can be more than 90% sure to become a witness of a market tsunami once in a lifetime......

The next market tsunami
Up to the next market tsunami, I would guess...., as tsunamis don't have a memory or allow themselves to fit into statistics or models like the ones mentioned above. Unlike natural sea-tsunamis, we - ourselves - are responsible for creating these 'financial tsunamis'.

Irrational Risk Attitude
But even if we are aware of the risk and are not responsible for creating the risk, we have an irrational risk attitude as human beings.
With the recent (2010) Haiti earthquake fresh in mind, let's take a look at the way we deal with the probability of an earthquake.

Los(t) Angeles .....................?
According to the 2007 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP 2007) the probability of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake over the next 30 years striking the greater Los Angeles area is 67% (mark the similarity in our P(n) table!).

Yet we deny this reality and 'hope' for the better. Perhaps if every city would have to value the estimated fair value of this earthquake expectation in his balance sheet, things would change. However, I doubt.....

People act irrational with regard to Risk. If we can't manage it, we deny it. If we can manage it, we screw it up!

- Article Is the Recent Financial Crisis Really a ‘Once-in-a-Century’ Event?
- Wall Street Journal article, October 2008: Greenspan
- Credits: CFA Institute
- California Earthquake Probabilities
- Download Spreadsheet of tables used in this blog

May 6, 2009

Chinese Actuary - Computer - Crisis

One of the interesting aspects of the Chinese language is that words are like little pictures, pictograms or logographs, the so called 'characters'. Moreover, some words are a combination, or (better) a superposition, of several of those characters.

So the meaning of a Chinese word can be deducted by interpretation of the pictograms and relating them. And, as the saying is "A picture is worth a thousand words", you don't need to be an actuary to calculate the enormous expression-power of the Chinese language. Every word is like a book of words and expresses not only the rational meaning but also the embodied feeling (mood) that goes along with the the formal meaning.

The power of the Chinese language can be illustrated by three simple examples, the Chinese words for Actuary, Computer and Crisis:

1. Actuary
The Chinese word for Actuary is :精算师

Pronunciation: jing suan shyr

The Chinese word Actuary consists of three characters:
  1. Jing, 精, means Skilled or Elite
  2. Suàn, 算, means 'to calculate' or 'to count'
  3. Shyr, 师, a suffix meaning 'a profession of' or a skilled or 'qualified practitioner of certain professions'

So, as a consequence, a stripped and therefore 'shortcoming' translation of the Chinese word for actuary would be: 'a skilled and qualified calculator'

Sources: Masteringmandarin, Translation, Wei Liu Dictionary,
Actuary Translated: A statistician who computes insurance risks and premiums.

2. Computer
The pictogram on the right means "computer" in Chinese. Actually, it consists of two characters that literally mean "Electric Brain", which the Chinese read as "computer".

However, as you may notice, the two main characters each exist of several sub-characters that also contribute and add meaning to the word 'Computer'.

Source, and more info at: Ebrain

3. Crisis
With the current credit crisis ( 信贷危机 xìndài wēijī) in mind, let's look at the Chinese word for 'crisis'. It consists of two characters

So in Chinese crisis means something like

Crisis = Danger + Opportunity

Let's apply this to daily business life.

No matter how great the danger in a crisis is, it also means a change of circumstances that creates space for new opportunities. It's an art to spot those opportunities when you're in the middle of a crisis.

But what if you're caught in a storm crisis:

Golden Rules Crisis Risk Management
In terms of risk management: If you're caught in the storm (trouble) and can't get out, don't try to. Try to get to the eye of the storm, where it's calm.

So when you're in the middle of a (credit) crisis :
  • Don't run
  • Set time still (Let time do the work)
  • Keep your head together
  • Wait for the opportunity, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes

Some more tips on how to behave in crisis situations you'll find on


Apr 30, 2009

DNB report on Credit Crisis

As experienced actuaries you'll probably know that 'De Nederlandsche Bank' (DNB) is the Dutch supervisor on banks, pension funds, insurers and mutual funds.

Recently DNB reported about the effects of the credit crisis.

You may find the report in the recently published:

Main articles in this interesting bulletin discuss the following topics:
  • Capital market financing more difficult and more expensive in 2008
  • Dutch banks scaled down foreign activities
  • Dutch pension funds fail in realizing indexation ambitions in 2009

The bulletin also includes a description of the fully revised statistics of investment funds.

The Dutch save massively for their pensions. To supplement their future state old age pension, nearly 6 million employees save for a pension at a pension fund. At end-2007, over 2.5 million persons received a pension benefit.

These savings have accumulated into a collective nest egg of around EUR 575 billion, i.e. nearly EUR 80,000 per Dutch household (end-2008).

For many households, pension savings are by far their largest financial asset. As a result of the credit crisis, pension funds saw their financial position deteriorate. In 2008, the pension funds’ average nominal funding ratio dropped from 144% to 95%

Chart: Funding ratio.
Broken down by interest rate effect and return on equities

According to a survey among the largest 25 pension funds, the pension sector, too, is being impacted by the credit crisis.

Following catch-up indexation last year, pension benefits will probably be indexed on average at a mere 0.2% this year. This means a loss of purchasing power for pensioners, even though the price level has fallen since the summer of 2008. Many pension entitlements accrued by employees, too, are not being indexed.

In 2009, pension contributions will rise, especially those of employers with an independent company pension fund. Employees, too, will be paying higher contributions.

Interested? More info at DNB


Mar 21, 2009

Credit Crisis Visualized

As an actuary, your friends or family often ask you to explain the credit crisis in simple words.

Questions like: Mr. Actuary, what is a CDO?

Don't waste any more time explaining, just show them the next Vimeo.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis.

Saves you hours of explaining.....

Feb 22, 2009

Langton's Actuarial Ant

As an actuary, you believe in the consistency of your risk models.

You might think that with 10.000 observations you've got enough stuff to present a consistent statistical model with realistic expectations, variances, etc.

You are aware that the output of your model depends on the quality of the data and the assumptions. In your advice you try to communicate all that to the board in order to support sound and responsible decisions.

In other words, you've got a consistent model and, as an actuary with a professional and consistent life-philosophy, you have everything under control. No great changes will take place?


you're probably wrong !

Just like our models, we actuaries, are not consistent

Even if we (or the risk reality we try to model) act in a stable consistent way, we (or risk reality) keep interfering with our environment and our environment responses to us.

At first this response seems meaningless and of no value. You think you're consequent and your work and achievements in life seem relatively stable, perhaps a little bit chaotic and of no great significance. But in repeating your proven receipts, way of doing or procedures endlessly, eventually

Something will change

This change often will not appear as an evolution in your life, but as a kind of revolution, out of the blue and most often unexpected.
Suddenly, just like in the credit crisis, there's an emerging situation. The way you always did it, doesn't turn out right anymore. Your model crashed, you crashed and there was nothing you could do about it. You couldn't have foreseen it, you could not have prevented it the classical way.

That's why we always have to add some non-classical extra 'common sense' safety margin thinking in our models.

The other side of this is also true. Fore example, when you study, you'll probably, once in a while, think: what progress am I making?

But don't worry, if you keep on your track, there'll be a day your future suddenly comes to you (out of the blue: as a kind of emergent property) instead of "the you trying to make your future" in this Game of Life.

A good demonstration of this principle is

Langton's ant

Langton's ant is an virtual ant that starts out on a grid containing black and white cells, and then follows the following set of rules.

  1. If the ant is on a black square, it turns right 90° and moves forward one unit.
  2. If the ant is on a white square, it turns left 90° and moves forward one unit.
  3. When the ant leaves a square, it inverts the color.

The result is a quite complicated and apparently chaotic, but relatively stable, motion. But after about 10.000 moves the ant starts to build a broad diagonal "highway".

So keep in mind "Langton's Actuarial Ant" next time you design a new risk model.

Anyhow, stay on your track as an actuary and remember, whether it's you in life or your models, someday there'll be

a collapse of chaos

Jan 10, 2009

Wir haben es nicht gewusst

Let's be humble and take a look at home. The home of actuaries, accountants and last but not least 'quants'.

Gewußt oder nicht gewußt?
Actuaries and accountants have failed in foreseeing the credit crisis. Together, we have greatly underestimated the developments and put our head in the sand. We've also failed to bring the emerging crisis to a possible end through enhanced cooperation with each other or by sending out common strong signals. In short: "Wir haben es nicht gewußt!"

Without an adequate technical substantiation, we have trusted business plans promising ROEs of 15% and more. This, while we all know that the average risk-free rate is still about 10% below this level and that such high returns can certainly not be made without taking additional risk.

VaR Model
As an article in The Actuary shows, we got intimidated and overruled by the quants with their Value at Risk (VaR) models. The consequences of the advices of these magic mathematicians and their VaR models are well explained in an excellent article called 'Risk Mismanagement' in the New York Times.

In another article, Global Association of Risk Professionals Review, David Einhorn explains:

VaR ignores what happens in the tails.

It specifically cuts them off.
A 99% VaR calculation does not evaluate what happens in the last 1%.

This makes VaR relatively useless as a riskmanagement tool and potentially catastrophic when its use creates a false sense of security among senior managers and watchdogs. " Quote:

VaR is like an airbag that works all the time,
except when you have a car accident

Also, according to Bloomberg, the risk-taking VaR model is broken and everyone is coming to the realization that no formula or rating system can substitute for old-fashioned 'due diligence'.

Quantum mechanics
Because of the complexity of these new VaR-like models, experienced actuaries, accountants, managers and supervisors were all afraid to ask deeper questions or to admit that they didn't totally understood these complex models that were presented as 'simple manageable board instruments' with 'simple steering parameters'. Just like nobody is eager to admit that 'quantum mechanics' is hard to understand and therefor every amateur quantum guru can say what he wants, because nobody checks it.

This way, indirect and by our advice and our models, CEOs and CFOs of large companies and pension funds got the (wrong) impression that 'complex financial markets' were based on 'a sound statistical model', where (annual) deficit risks of 2.5%, 0.5% or 0.1% are exactly calculable and moreover also acceptable.

Whatever, lessons learned, new opportunities for actuaries to set a new benchmark for '21 century riskmanagement'.

However..., stay careful, to catch a tiger by the tail is risky!

Jan 7, 2009

Unfair Value

How can you be against something that's fair, like "Fair Value"?
What could be wrong, valuating a company at market value?

IceComp Case
Let me take you along in a story about IceComp, a fictitious ordinary wholesaler in ice creams.

The daily demand for ice creams turns out to be in line with the outside temperature. In an average summer, with an average temperature of 16°C (about 60°F), IceComp sells 10 million ice creams a year. Annual turnover the past 10 years, $ 20 million with a net margin of 10%.

In order to regulate demand and to maximize profit, IceComp defines the daily ice cream selling price (P) in line with the market by the formula:


So at 32°C an ice cream will sell at $ 4 and at 16°C it will sell at $ 2 a piece. To always deliver on time, IceComp keeps an average stock of about 2 million ice creams. Based on on the average selling price of the last 10 years, this stock is valued in the balance sheet at $ 4 million, resulting in a fair and trustworthy P&L, that reflects the actual sales level at current prices.

Two years ago, inventory (stock) valuation based on market prices ('fair value'), i.e. the price daily selling price of an ice cream, became mandatory. From that moment on, things started to go wrong.

Consistent with the daily temperature, the daily inventory value starts to oscillate heavily, with explosions and variations up to $ 6 million per month. To the 'surprise' of all stakeholders, equally strong alternating monthly gains and losses are reported. It's crystal clear, the company is no longer 'in control'.

The national supervisor interferes and demands extra securities (funds). Now the monthly P&L of IceComp starts to oscillate even more, as the investment results of the extra securities, that principally do not have anything to do with the core business of IceComp, also start to vary on basis of 'fair value' (market prices) valuation.

Ultimately, lack of confidence from share- and stakeholders drives IceComp into bankruptcy.

What was meant to be 'intentional Fair', turns out to be 'Unfair' in practice. Valuing balance sheets on bases of daily prices is like playing 'Russian roulette'. It can be compared to making 'climate statements', based on the daily weather forecast.

The analogy to banking, pension and insurance business may be clear. Don't base valuation methods on daily prices, but on a, per product or market defined, 'moving average market price' for a fixed chosen period (depending on product or market cycle).

The current (credit) crisis calls for development of new valuating principles by auditors and actuaries.

Dec 17, 2008

Credit Crisis Predicted

Lyndon LaRouche, economist, long-range forecaster, risk manager 'avant la lettre' and one of the initiators behind the SDI-project (Strategic Defense Initiative) in the 80s.

With firm quotes like "there has been no economic growth on this planet, since the end of the 1960s. None, if you measure the right magnitudes", he takes stand in the sometimes overoptimistic and misleading world we've created.

Back in 1995, in Germany, he stated "We are at the end of an epoch".

He warned that a global financial bankruptcy and collapse would be under way and introduced in an econometric form his 'famous' "Typical Collapse Function" or "Triple Curve"to illustrate that power statement.

In his daring view, he describes the interplay of the three curves (non mathematical directionalities) that characterize the collapse process:
  1. Physical-economic input/output (bottom curve)
    The productivity and functioning of the physical economy, upon which all human existence depends;
  2. Monetary aggregates (middle curve)
    The increase in monetary aggregates (approximately represented by money supply measures; injections)
  3. Financial aggregates (upper curve)
    Growth—which can become hyperbolic growth—in financial aggregates of all kinds: run-up of debts and other obligations, speculation in currencies, stock markets, futures (derivatives), etc.

As in the case of a "typical collapse function," the interaction of the upper two curves sucks the underlying physical economy dry.

But at a certain critical point (around 2000 in the USA), no matter how much money is injected in the economy, the financial bubbles cannot be kept aloft! The rate of rate of growth of monetary aggregates becomes higher than the rate of rate of growth for financial aggregates. In graphical terms, this is the "inevitable crossover" point of the middle, monetary curve, breaking up through the top financial curve.

Although this looks like intuitive econometric science, LaRouche illustrates this with some striking examples.

In the year 2000 LaRouche stated that compared with a worldwide GDP of about $41 trillion, the total amount of financial aggregate in short-term obligations was over $400 trillion. In other words, at least 10 times the amount of the total annual product of the world as a whole at that time. "

In 2008 he publishes in 'The Time Has Come for a New System':
  • We are a credit system, not a monetary system.
  • Outstanding obligations: $1.4 quadrillion, derivatives, short-term obligations of speculative nature
  • This mess is coming down.
  • System will be put into bankruptcy, by governments

And than to realize that there are still leading prominent professionals that like to make us believe that it's just some limited subprime issue. Regretful, it's the other way around. Subprime will just turn out to be the proverbial little stroke that'll fell the great oak.

Read more about LaRouche Writings

Let's hope that LaRouche is a pessimistic man....

Nov 20, 2008

Credit Crisis Indicators

Credit Crisis Indicators: Treasury, Libor, Ted, Paper & Bonds.

The credit markets indicators give a better measure of the crisis than the stock markets. NYT gathered five ways to measure the recent disruptions in the credit markets.


Nov 15, 2008

Whistleblower Risk Management

We all know Risk Management is key in our business.

Yet, almost all risk models (e.g. Coso) emphasize mainly on known or knowable risks.

Of course, as we could have seen in the 2008 credit crisis, the art of Risk management is in managing the unknown or unknowable risks.

But how?

Let's try to learn from two main major accidents:

I. The Challenger shuttle disaster (1986)
The accident was caused by failing O-Rings. Warnings of many engineers were overruled and ignored. This crash was the consequence of a typical effect called GROUPTHINK. Groups naturally look for consensus and will often come up with a false consensus, even when individual members disagree.
Watch a video of the space shuttle Challenger disaster that illustrates this GROUPTHINK phenomenon.

Other examples are the Columbia shuttle disaster and the 9/11 attacks. In all cases Management failed because the information suggesting a disaster was weakly transmitted within an bureaucratic system, and managers failed to authorize action because of bad communication and performance or time pressure.

II. The 2008 credit crisis
  • Underestimating early signals
    The first indication of the coming credit crisis was the collapse of Enron in 2003, uncovered by whistleblower Sherron Watkins.

    After the collapse, the FED refused to come out with new 'rules based' guidelines . A Senate investigation showed that - starting already in 2000 - some major U.S. financial institutions had "deliberately misused structured finance techniques". But the Fed and the SEC underestimated the situation, kept to their 'principles based' system and consequently missed the opportunity to to flex their muscle by regulating market conditions for subprime mortgages.

    Lesson: It's not about 'rules OR principles', Football Or Soccer, but it's about 'Rules AND Principles'.

  • Mixed Central Banks (FED) responsibilities
    Central Banks, The Fed in particular, have at the same time two main responsibilities with regard to (other) financial institutions:
    1. Supervision
    2. Providing financial (banking) services

    Those two functions clearly conflict with each other. It's impossible to independently supervise the financial company you're financing at the same time. Supervisory advises will be suspicious by definition.

    Secondly you can't supervise yourself as central bank. Therefore, every country needs an independent (that is 'without central bank board members'), professional supervisory board, that audits and supervises the central bank and the national bailout plan(s).

  • Whistleblowers
    How could the credit crisis technically happen?
    Not an official, but a more outside kind of whistleblower, businessman Warren Buffet, warns in a 2003 BBC article that “Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction and contracts devised by madmen". The financial world isn't listening.

    Derivatives like Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDO's,) were developed to (re)fund the subprime loans. CDO's are packaged portfolios of credit risk, made up from different sliced and diced loans and bonds. They were hard to uncover without a whistleblower. At last an anonymous banker e-mails journalist Gillian Tett of the Financial Times about the situation. Only after she publices early 2007 what's wrong, the dices start rolling. This case also stresses the important role of journalism and whistleblowers in our aim for a healthy transparent financial market.

  • The Greed Game
    One can argue about the roots of the credit crisis. However, essential in the 2008 credit crisis were, or still are, the excessive remuneration practices at private equity companies, hedge funds and banks. They encouraged unhealthy and excessive risk-taking. Key is the lack of balance between possible earnings and possible losses of board members.

    To prevent unhealthy pressure management (with groupthink effects), board members' total rewards should always be in line with the long term realized added value of the company and not be based on yearly P&L profits or short term added value.

Manage the unknown risks
Risk Management is not a static, but a dynamic process.

To gain and behold control of the unknown risks, it's necessary to create a transparent organization and company-process that guarantees whistleblowers' and whisperers' (= whistleblowers, that wish to stay anonymous) safety and encourages and even rewards compliance reports from employees, clients or any other stakeholders.

Because of GROUPTHINK and - on the other hand - possible negative employee outcomes (demotion, dismissal, etc) in case a reported compliance issue turns out to be compliant after all, it's important that whistleblowers are always given the opportunity to report directly, anonymously and safely to the independent federal Supervisor. Employees must have the choice to report internal within their company (small compliance matters) or to report directly to the federal Supervisory board.

  • Separate the Supervisory and Financial Services functions of the central banks (FED)

  • Redesign whistleblowers management
    Whistleblowers should have the opportunity to report compliance issues directly and anonimously to an independent federal Supervisory board.

    Whistleblowers that choose to report within a company, should always directly reporte to the compliance officer, the executive board and the supervisory board. On top of this they should always, especially in case of discharge, dismissal or demotion, have the right to escalate to the federal Supervisor.

  • Change supervisory procedures and criteria
    Approval of (company) board members by the federal Supervisor should als be based upon:
    1. The 'ethical track record' of a candidate
    2. The feasibility of, in macro economic perspective, "realistic and balanced" board member performance parameters.

      The federal Supervisor should audit and approve the existence of a consistent 'company reward plan' that guarantees a sound and measurable balance between long term company results and board member rewards.

      CEO's that haven't established measurable long term added value for their company, shouldn't receive any bonus or golden parachute at all.

Oct 28, 2008

Credit Crisis Manageable?

In order to succeed in a certain action, we often develop an action plan, a process that defines sub-actions in terms of who, what, when and where.

To guarantee that we succeed as much as possible, we have to maximize the control of this process of sub-actions. Make the process manageable.

In managing this process it's important to identify the nature and co-dependency of your sub-actions.

In general it's important to characterize sub-actions as follows:

Characteristic Understandable
Predictable Solvable
Simple ++ ++ ++
Complicated + + ++
Complex - - +
Chaotic -- -- -


Characteristic Example Description
Simple Doorbell
Single component/ process with defined output
Complicated Watch
Several components working together with defined output
Complex Weather
Many interdependent components with hardly predictable output.
Chaotic Clouds (form)
No sub components to identify, output unpredictable

Always analyze and characterize the components or sub actions of your action plan.
Not doing so will certainly cause trouble.

One of the causes of the 2008 credit crisis is that we try to manage an in essential 'chaotic process' as a 'complicated process'. More traditional regulation rules (or governance back up) won't stabilize the banking system on the long run (in fact they make it worse), because these rules would imply that the nature of the financial markets is known and can be captured in a controllable mathematical linear system.

Financial markets are complex and chaotic systems, just like the weather. This implicates that regulation should be much more focused on "Plan B" measures than on detailed rule based regulation.

This means that regulation has to be formulated in such a way that Banks, instead of proving more and more that they will 'never' be insolvent (e.g. calculated risk=0,5%, that can't be calculated!), are forced to deliver Plan B's in which they state how they'll act in the 'unexpected' case of insolvency or iliquidity (average at least once in 200 years).

Just like you've got an umbrella in your car (Plan B), because you know that even though the weather forecast was 'sunny', you never can tell precisely when it's going to rain.

Most processes in life turn out to be chaotic on the long run. Analyze and control them, but don't forget to (always) carry your "Plan B" in your pocket.

Oct 27, 2008

Credit Crisis caused by Pyramid scheme

"Modern banking principles, as defined in the fractional reserve banking system, are essentially an ordinary (and illegal!) Pyramid scheme based on the arithmetic (geometric sequence) of fractional banking.

In an interview, called The Game Is Over, Michael Hudson states that the Fed and Treasury are following the traditional “Big fish eat little fish” principle of favoring the vested interests.

Just like in another Youtube movie he remarks that instead of bailing out the big financial institutions and rescuing billionaires and private investors, the government should have saved only the savings of savers at the bank, pensioners, Social Security recipients and other small fry.

No doubt, given How The Credit Markets Work, current measures will not solve the credit crisis ( Nothing Proposed Will Solve the Credit Crisis ).

Oct 10, 2008

Economics: Playing with fire

Read this splendid article by Robert Clarkson.

He discusses the dangerous misuse of modern finance models that sparked the current worldwide credit crisis.

Much of the responsibility for the severity of the present worldwide credit crisis can be attributed to the unthinking use of dangerously unsound financial models by American and European banks.

In July 2008 Clarkson gave a corresponding
presentation entitled “Actuarial insights into hedge fund management” at a conference on managing risk in hedge funds.

Some quotes:
    The chance of loss is by most men undervalued.
    The further you look back in history, the further you can look forward.

Sep 28, 2008

Lessons from the Credit Crisis

Which car can travel faster around a race track, one with brakes or one without?

A car will face many obstacles, let alone many bends in the track before it reaches the finish line. The ability to brake allows the race car driver to slow down to meet these challenges and to accelerate only when there is the most gain to be had.

Similarly, companies want to be resilient in the face of risk and also to be able to exploit it should opportunities for gain arise. Especially in the financial community, an enterprise risk management system that is quick and responsive to change is central to ensuring success.

More at:
Actuaries Abroad: ERM Lessons from the Credit Crisis

However, if you think everything is under control, remember Andretti's one liner:

Even in risk management: Think twice.....