Is Risk Management a Job or a Career?

There are few life decisions as consequential as your choice of career. Get it wrong, and you’re in for a world of discontent. Perhaps you currently have a risk management position and are wondering if you can make it a career. Or maybe you are just starting out and are contemplating risk management as a […]

How to Calculate Value-at-Risk – Step by Step

The power of value-at-risk lies in its generality. Unlike market risk metrics such as the Greeks, duration, convexity or beta, which are applicable to only certain asset categories or certain sources of market risk, value-at-risk is general. It is based on the probability distribution for a portfolio’s market value. All liquid assets have uncertain market […]

List Of Risk Management Failures

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Nowhere is George Santayana’s famous admonition more applicable than in the field of risk management. As a reminder of all the ways things can go wrong, I maintain an informal list of prominent risk management failures. I just updated the list and thought I […]

How To Address Procedure Violations

It is surprising how many books and articles on risk management discuss procedures but don’t discuss violations of procedures. Is the topic so disturbing people don’t want to mention it? Maybe people think that, if an organization is managing risk properly, there won’t be procedure violations. That is not true. There are always violations. They […]

What The 4 T’s Overlook

If you have been active in risk management for a while, you have probably heard of the 4 T ‘s. These—at a very high level—are the four possible responses to risk. Conveniently, each begins with the letter T: Tolerate Treat Transfer Terminate They appear in various risk management standards. They pop up in books, articles […]

Nickels In Front of Bulldozers

There is an old saying on trading floors: Watch the trader who makes consistent money. He is the one who is going to blow up. In his book When Genius Failed, on the 1998 failure of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), Roger Lowenstein shares a compelling analogy for this: Picking up nickels in front […]

The new RiskArchive.com website's header depicts a high-speed skeleton sledder, suggestive of the site's focus on risk management.

Risk Archive: Preserving a Financial Knowledge Base

Who remembers RiskChat.com, a forum on financial risk management that I had the pleasure and honor of hosting from 1996 to 2009? It was the go-to website for financial professionals to discuss risk management, trading, financial engineering and a host of related topics. Over its life, the forum accumulated some 15,000 posts, a valuable knowledge base […]

Test Your Risk Intuition

I am dusting off a classic test for risk intuition. If you remember the test from years past, it will be nice to reminisce. If not, take the test now to assess your intuition and look at risk in a new way.

Upside Risk, Downside Risk

Risk has two components: exposure, and uncertainty. If either is absent, there is no risk. But some people insist there must be a third component: downside. Let me explain. If you are uncertain about some consequential event, the set of possible desirable outcomes is sometimes called your “upside risk”. The set of possible adverse outcomes is […]

Conflict Over Risk Management: A Case Study

Conflict is a recurring problem for financial risk management. At your own firm, are risk managers dismissed as “risk police”? Are risk committee meetings contentious? Do traders hoard information? If you answered “yes” to some of these, you may have a serious problem. I just returned from London where I conducted a two-day strategic planning […]

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