Top 5 reasons why the "time of risk" is now

It is the first day of February 2010 and we are all familiar with three small but powerful words – Global, Financial and Crisis.  You place those three words into a sentence and everyone now listens.

It is with great interest that I therefore see the release of  “On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System” by Henry M. Paulson (available now for the Kindle from Amazon, but not yet available in Australia).  As a side point, this is slightly disappointing, in this day and age, that any time delay exists across the globe for electronic content.

Anyway, with a review of:

When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation’s next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging.

But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world’s most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depression. Major institutions including Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, among others-all steeped in rich, longstanding tradition-literally teetered at the edge of collapse. Panic ensnared international markets. Worst of all, the credit crisis spread to all parts of the U.S. economy and grew more ominous with each passing day, destroying jobs across America and undermining the financial security millions of families had spent their lifetimes building.

You really cannot walk past this book.  If it was available in Australia, I would be downloading this beauty right now.

However, this book release reminded me of some of the key reasons why I see the “time of risk” as now:

  1. Everyone talks about a CRISIS, and a crisis impacting the financial services sector, a sector that impacts every person on this planet, makes it even more a hot topic.  But, even more so, everyone associates crisis management with risk management.  So this is my number 1 reason why the “time of risk” is now.
  2. Risk has evolved from being something to consider to something that is part of every decision made.  People see risk as something they must do rather than something that is a necessary “evil”.
  3. Technology has advanced so far in the last 5 years that information is sent across the planet in a matter of “tweets”, or seconds, depending on your vocabulary.  Therefore, the need to make risk based decisions is emphasised by the near real time requirements of these new technologies.  People are beginning to understand that a single statement can be spread on the internet that quickly that you can easily lose control of the information.  Risk plays a critical role in evaluating how, when, why and who uses these mediums in your organisations.
  4. People are beginning to see risk as a place to work, partly due to the increased scrutiny of this area (and therefore the job opportunities) but also because over the coming months and years the risk professional is going to be more actively engaged in all manner of corporate activities.
  5. Because risk is fun!  Simple really; but being involved in risk gives you a unique opportunity to think about all the things that could go wrong and right in a particular question or initiative, and to actively help businesses make better decisions.

So, those are my type 5 reasons why the “time of risk” is now.


Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

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