Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Risk management meets spin

It' always 'the same' and 'always different'.

The trick is figure out which is which.

Right now risk and solvency are linked. There are concerns, perhaps as never before that borrowers are not just 'too indebted' and could be forced to reschedule their debt in response not just to some future (unknown) shock but that even in a best case scenario we would see reschedulings for countries like Greece and Portugal and maybe Spain.

...and oddly the Germans are funding the so-called bailout fund that may be more painful to fall into than to miss.

Meanwhile Ireland took on a load of bank debt to save its banks but that bankrupted the whole country. Germany is playing like it is the nice guy in all of this when, in fact, if countries or banks defaulted the result would be swamp German banks with bad debt - and more than they could stand. Germany's bailout fund for Europe is a back-door bailout of German banks that allows German citizens to rail at financial excesses in other European nations instead of storming down the doors of their own banks!

What is so surprising these days is that today’s debtors seem to extract so few concessions from the Germans given the German plight.

Latin American borrowers played the Debt Card in the 1970-s and 1980s with much more aplomb.

As for other types of risk the main issues (to me) seem to be that for a while we thought we had quantitative systems to disperse risk that instead it turned out to concentrated it.

Risk management (identification) systems (like rating agency ratings) failed also

As a result risk today is not greater it is just more of an unknown and is thought to lurk in places where it should not be and that naturally changes the game.

When you are used to having a gun shoot only one way out of its barrel, then it shoots the other way on occasion, it makes the weapon more difficult to use even in your own defense.