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The challenges of risk management in diversified financial companies

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In recent years, financial institutions and their supervisors have placed increased emphasis on the importance of consolidated risk management. Consolidated risk management, also referred to as integrated or enterprise-wide risk management, can have many specific meanings, but in general it refers to a coordinated process for measuring and managing risk on a firm-wide basis. Interest in consolidated risk management has arisen for a variety of reasons. Advances in information technology and financial engineering have made it possible to quantify risks more precisely. A wave of mergers, both in the United States and overseas, has resulted in significant consolidation in the financial services industry as well as in larger more complex financial institutions. The 1999 Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act seems likely to heighten interest in consolidated risk management, as the legislation opens the door to combinations of financial activities that had previously been prohibited. This article examines the economic rationale for managing risk on a firm-wide, consolidated basis. Both financial institutions and supervisors agree on the importance of this type of risk management. However, the ideal of consolidated risk management, which may seem uncontroversial or even obvious, involves significant conceptual and practical issues. As a result, few if any financial firms have fully developed systems in place today. The absence thus far of fully implemented consolidated risk management systems suggests that there are significant costs or obstacles that have historically led firms to manage risk in a more segmented fashion. We argue that both information and regulatory costs play an important role here by affecting the trade-off between the value derived from consolidated risk management and the expense of constructing complex risk management systems. In addition, substantial technical hurdles remain in developing risk management systems that span a wide range of businesses and types of risk. All of these factors are evolving in ways that suggest that the barriers to consolidated risk management are increasingly likely to fall over the coming years.

Suggested Citation

  • Cumming, Christine & Hirtle, Beverly, 2001. "The challenges of risk management in diversified financial companies," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 3, pages 89-95.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jofitr:1274
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas G. Labrecque, 1998. "Risk management: one institution's experience," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 237-240.
    2. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
    3. Robert E. Lewis, 1998. "Capital from an insurance company perspective," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 183-186.
    4. Froot, Kenneth A. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1998. "Risk management, capital budgeting, and capital structure policy for financial institutions: an integrated approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 55-82, January.
    5. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
    6. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    7. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1999. "Risk Management with Interdependent Choice," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 52-62, Autumn.
    8. Merton H. Miller & Franco Modigliani, 1961. "Dividend Policy, Growth, and the Valuation of Shares," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34, pages 411-411.
    9. Michael S. Gibson, 1998. "The implications of risk management information systems for the organization of financial firms," International Finance Discussion Papers 632, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Hirtle, Beverly, 2016. "Public disclosure and risk-adjusted performance at bank holding companies," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 151-173.
    2. Daniela MATEI & Dragos CRISTEA & Alexandru CAPATINA, 2012. "Risk Management in the Age of Turbulence - Failures and Challenges," Economics and Applied Informatics, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 2, pages 17-22.
    3. Sébastian Schich, 2005. "Diversification sectorielle : les assureurs mis au défi," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 80(3), pages 271-286.
    4. Victoria Geyfman, 2005. "Risk-adjusted performance measures at bank holding companies with section 20 subsidiaries," Working Papers 05-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. Hagigi, Moshe & Sivakumar, Kumar, 2009. "Managing diverse risks: An integrative framework," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 286-295, September.
    6. Constanta-Nicoleta BODEA & Melania COMAN, 2009. "Competence Development in IT Projects through Education and Training Programmes," REVISTA DE MANAGEMENT COMPARAT INTERNATIONAL/REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE MANAGEMENT, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 10(3), pages 427-435, July.
    7. Andrew Kuritzkes & Til Schuermann & Scott M. Weiner, 2002. "Risk Measurement, Risk Management and Capital Adequacy in Financial Conglomerates," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 03-02, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    8. Giorgio Stefano Bertinetti & Elisa Cavezzali & Gloria Gardenal, 2013. "The effect of the enterprise risk management implementation on the firm value of European companies," Working Papers 10, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    9. Iman van Lelyveld & Arnold Schilder, 2002. "Risk in Financial Conglomerates: Management and Supervision," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 49, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
    10. Financial Systems and Bank Examination Department, 2005. "The Expansion of Corporate Groups in the Financial Services Industry: Trends in Financial Conglomeration in Major Industrial Countries," Bank of Japan Research Papers 2005-12-28, Bank of Japan.
    11. Monda, Barbara & Giorgino, Marco & Modolin, Ileana, 2013. "Rationales for Corporate Risk Management - A Critical Literature Review," MPRA Paper 45420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. repec:ris:utmsje:0216 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Subhani, Muhammad Imtiaz & Osman, Ms. Amber, 2011. "The Essence of Enterprise Risk Management in Today’s Business Enterprises in Developed and Developing Nations," MPRA Paper 34760, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk management; financial institutions; diversified financial organizations; consolidated risk management; In recent years; financial institutions and their supervisors have placed increased emphasis on the importance of consolidated risk management. Consolidated risk management; also referred to as integrated or enterprise-wide risk management; can have many specific meanings; but in general it refers to a coordinated process for measuring and managing risk on a firm-wide basis. Interest in consolidated risk management has arisen for a variety of reasons. Advances in information technology and financial engineering have made it possible to quantify risks more precisely. A wave of mergers; both in the United States and overseas; has resulted in significant consolidation in the financial services industry as well as in larger more complex financial institutions. The 1999 Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act seems likely to heighten interest in consolidated risk management; as the legislation opens the door to combinations of financial activities that had previously been prohibited. This article examines the economic rationale for managing risk on a firm-wide; consolidated basis. Both financial institutions and supervisors agree on the importance of this type of risk management. However; the ideal of consolidated risk management; which may seem uncontroversial or even obvious; involves significant conceptual and practical issues. As a result; few if any financial firms have fully developed systems in place today. The absence thus far of fully implemented consolidated risk management systems suggests that there are significant costs or obstacles that have historically led firms to manage risk in a more segmented fashion. We argue that both information and regulatory costs play an important role here by affecting the trade-off between the value derived from consolidated risk management and the expense of constructing complex risk management systems. In addition; substantial technical hurdles remain in developing risk management systems that span a wide range of businesses and types of risk. All of these factors are evolving in ways that suggest that the barriers to consolidated risk management are increasingly likely to fall over the coming years.;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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