Risk = Probability X Consequences. Really?

“Wall Street thought it had risk all figured out…” should read that they figured out a marketing message given kudos by the number of Phd’s, MBA’s etc. employed by organisations whose appetite for individual/collective wealth and power was enabled by regulatory and credit (rating) regimes that suited the aspirations of politicians ALL at the expense of their citizens (customers) i.e. those that give them the means to function.

Their own greed and inability to continue to control information that exposed it, has been their undoing. Access to INFORMATION has enhanced our knowledge to such an extent that we have been able to recognise the MISINFORMATION that was presented as ‘knowledge and expertise’.

They created and profited from a volitile financial environment that, once globally interconnected, is beyond their control but, for as long as profits can be privatised and losses socialised, they will not suffer…until what has been ‘hidden in plain view’ can no longer be tolerated or sustained.

Time is nearly up.

Ontonix QCM Blog

Nik-Wallenda-tightroping-over-Niagara-Falls-1cv324b (image from www.impactlab.net )

Probably the most frequently used definition of risk is this one:

Risk = the Probability of something happening X resulting Cost/Consequences

This definition is flawed because of two fundamental reasons, which the formula itself suggests very eloquently:

1. Estimation of probabilities of future events is very difficult (while it is considerably easier when talking of past events). Rare events have very low probabilities and these are extremely difficult to estimate due to the fact that the sample of available data is very small (what is the probability of an event similar to 9/11?). Since this factor multiplies the “cost” in the above equation it is of paramount importance.

2. Estimation of the costs/consequences of these events. This is most difficult. Even after a catastrophic event it is difficult to estimate the total damage and cost.

However, the most important flaw is hidden and it is conceptual…

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Complexity, risk, uncertainty and change


Business management, particularly for those intent upon ‘change’ or responsible for managing exposures, needs a rigorous, objective, measurement of the endogenous properties (complexity) that enables the functionality from which (through interactions with exogenous parties) the business generates the revenues that sustain it in changing and turbulent economic times.

“Complexity increases cost and decreases flexibility — often in unforeseen ways — and also tends to decrease stability,”….

Peter Leukert, CIO of Commerzbank

It is the number, nature and integrity of dynamic, multi-scalar, interactions that are the sources of strength (enabling performance greater than the sum of the parts). The ability to distinguish and respond to ‘signals’, that maintain the variety, effectiveness and agility of the complex system, from the ‘noise’ of flawed metrics, self-serving culture, hierarchical structure (silos), skewed incentives – of an unsustainable, failed or failing, model (reliant upon  assumption, reflexive, subjective, statistical analysis and prediction) that has its foundation in flawed (linear) economic thinking.

We won’t get different or better answers while we keep on asking the same questions.

For meaningful change to occur and to be sustained requires a rigorous justification, sufficient to counter financial projections that satisfy the goals of C-level short-termism that are detrimental to the stability and long term health of the business.

Read more of this post

Competitive advantage from new insights on customers, risks and business cycles – Bain & Co.

It isn’t rocket science to figure that, if we keep asking the same questions, using the same metrics and look for familiar patterns in data we won’t get new, better answers or identify new patterns!

Identifying, mapping, monitoring and managing causal relationships is a means by which carriers of financial/insurance risk can seize a considerable competitive advantage…from an informational advantage.

Ontonix enables organisations [insurers] to do just that…in real-time, if required!

So, instead of relying upon attempts to predict the unpredictable and reflexive, post-loss, analysis the opportunity exists for ‘crisis anticipation’. Our experience of working across a wide range of sectors – from healthcare to aviation, automotive and engineering design to banking – is that, our unique analysis can enable effective loss prevention. A, potentially, transformational development for firms involved in insurance risk transfer, investing for future returns or protecting against unknown (or unknowable) future events…so where are the ‘Risk Leaders’? Read more of this post

Domestic terrorists don’t wear pinstripes

Is it just me that is absolutely gobsmacked by this!?

Further evidence, of the lack of consistency and glaring inequalities. OK, we know that Regulators and Legislators see fit to ignore the scale of the crimes perpetrated by these banksters BUT for how much longer can any right-minded citizen stand idly by?

More (costly) regulation won’t change this culture but, CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPARENCY can. And, in the process, reduce the risks associated with such behaviours.

Political and Financial leaders know that they are playing a very high stakes game and that there is a growing threat that ALL that they hold dear will, as a result of both their actions and inaction, come under threat. Would this go some way to explain the rate at which civil liberties are being stripped away across the Western world? I sincerely hope that such questions or suggestions don’t qualify me as a “domestic terrorist” because, as a mere citizen, anything could happen…

JPMorgan Chase has been sanctioned by US regulators for failures in its risk management operations after it lost more than $6.2 billion on a single credit derivatives trade. The sanctions follow the disclosure of significant losses in a large synthetic credit portfolio that was managed by the CIO. The botched bet – made by UK big fish Bruno Iksil – had managed to wipe out $51 billion in shareholder value before alarm bells started to ring at the bank’s head office in New York. Among other things, the Fed identified deficiencies in risk management oversight, modelling assumptions, audit and finance reporting and escalation to senior management. The OCC further found that the bank’s BSA (bank Secrecy Act) compliance programme had “critical deficiencies” with respect to suspicious activity reporting, monitoring transactions, conducting customer due diligence and risk assessment, and implementing adequate systems of internal controls and independent testing. Despite the criticism, JPMorgan Chase escaped with nothing more than a rap on the knuckles. No fines were levied by the watchdogs and the bank didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing in consenting to the regulatory orders


More Skin in the Game in 2013:: Nassim Taleb [Project Syndicate]

Without sound foundations the global financial sector are little more than licensed “cowboy builders”!

The ancients understood that the builder always knows more about the risks than the client, and can hide sources of fragility and improve his profitability by cutting corners. The foundation is the best place to hide risk. The builder can also fool the inspector; the person hiding risk has a large informational advantage over the one who has to find it.

More Skin in the Game in 2013 by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Project Syndicate