Cinderella''s moment 灰姑娘的非常时刻(转载)

楼主:Somers2009 时间:2010-02-17 22:20:00 四川 点击:2146 回复:0
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A special report on financial risk
  Cinderella's moment
  Risk managers to the fore
  Feb 11th 2010
  From The Economist print edition
  Illustration by Tim Marrs
  IN A speech delivered to a banking-industry conference in Geneva in December 2006, Madelyn Antoncic issued a warning and then offered some reassurance. With volatility low, corporate credit spreads growing ever tighter and markets all but ignoring bad news, there was, she said, “a seemingly overwhelming sense of complacency”. Nevertheless, she insisted that the firm she served as chief risk officer, Lehman Brothers, was well placed to ride out any turbulence, thanks to a keen awareness of emerging threats and a rock-solid analytical framework.
  2006年在日内瓦举行的金融会议上,Madelyn Antoncic作了一个演讲,其间她发出了警告但随后又给出了一些安慰。随着低波动率,企业的信用利差越来越小(紧),而市场几乎是忽略所有不利信息,正如她所说的:“似乎是一种压倒性的自满”。然而,她坚持她作为首席风险官所效力的雷曼兄弟公司,因着对可能出现的风险有敏锐的体察和坚如磐石的分析框架,是有能力渡过任何动荡。
  Behind the scenes, all was not well. Ms Antoncic, a respected risk manager with an economics PhD, had expressed unease at the firm’s heavy exposure to commercial property and was being sidelined, bit by bit, by the firm’s autocratic boss, Dick Fuld. Less than two months after her speech she was pushed aside.
  而幕后所有的一切皆不尽如人意。受人尊敬拥有经济学博士学位的Antoncic女士,对公司商业用房地产贷款存在的巨大风险敞口表达了不安但却被公司独裁的老板Dick Fuld逐渐边缘化。在她发言不到两个月后就被排挤冷落了。
  Lehman’s story ended particularly badly, but this sort of lapse in risk governance was alarmingly common during the boom. So much for the notion, generally accepted back then, that the quality of banks’ risk regimes had, like car components, converged around a high standard. “The variance turned out to be shocking,” says Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.
  雷曼的故事以无比恶劣的结局结束了,但这种风险管理的失误在繁荣期却是惊人地普遍。当年普遍存在一种观念, 认为银行的抗风险机制的质量就象汽车零部件一样达标甚高, 这个观念到此休矣。 因为结果发现, 有的银行距离高标准的差距大的惊人,正如摩根大通的行政长官Jamie Dimon所言。
  The banks that fared better, including his own, relied largely on giving their risk-managing roundheads equal status with the risk-taking cavaliers. That was not easy. In happy times, when risk seems low, power shifts from risk managers to traders. Sales-driven cultures are the natural order of things on Wall Street and in the City. Discouraging transactions was frowned upon, especially at firms trying to push their way up capital-markets league tables. Risk managers who said no put themselves on a collision course with the business head and often the chief executive too.
  At some large banks that subsequently suffered big losses, such as HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), credit committees, which vetted requests for big loans, could be formed on an ad hoc basis from a pool of eligible members. If the committee’s chairman, typically a business-line head, encountered resistance from a risk manager or other sceptic, he could adjourn the meeting, then reconstitute the committee a week or two later with a more pliable membership that would approve the loan.
  在许多随后遭受巨大损失的银行中,比如苏格兰哈里法克斯银行和皇家苏格兰银行,对大额贷款进行审查的信贷委员会,是从有资格的成员队伍中临时性选拔组成的。如果委员会 正好是业务线的领导,在遭遇风险经理或其他不信任者的阻挠时,他可以中止会议,然后在一两周后选择那些会同意借贷更圆通的人选重新组建委员会。
  Another common trick was for a business line to keep quiet about a proposal on which it had been working for weeks until a couple of hours before the meeting to approve it, so the risk team had no time to lodge convincing objections. Exasperated roundheads would occasionally resort to pleading with regulators for help. In the years before the crash the Basel Committee of bank supervisors reportedly received several requests from risk managers to scrutinise excessive risk-taking at their institutions that they felt powerless to stop.
  Many banks’ failings exposed the triumph of form over substance. In recent years it had become popular to appoint a chief risk officer to signal that the issue was receiving attention. But according to Leo Grepin of McKinsey, “it was sometimes a case of management telling him, ‘you tick the boxes on risk, and we’ll worry about generating revenue’.”
  许多银行的倒闭揭示了重形式而不重实质的问题。近几年来,任命首席风险官逐级变得风行起来,但这只不过是对外表示风险问题正在受到重视。但据麦肯锡的Leo Grepin所言:“这种情况只不过是形式,管理层借此通知他(风险官)‘你只要给抗风险注意事项前头的空格通通打钩就行,赚钱的事我们来操心。’”
  Since 2007 banks have been scrambling to convince markets and regulators that they will continue to take risk seriously once memories of the crisis fade. Some are involving risk officers in talks about new products and strategic moves. At HSBC, for instance, they have had a bigger role in vetting acquisitions since the bank’s American retail-banking subsidiary, bought in 2003, suffered heavy subprime-mortgage losses. “Everyone should now see that the risk team needs to be just as involved on the returns side as on the risk side,” says Maureen Miskovic, chief risk officer at State Street, an American bank.
  自从2007年以来,银行纷纷说服市场和管理者一旦危机记忆淡化他们将继续实行高风险政策。在谈论新产品和战略举措时也提到了风险官。比如,在汇丰银行,自从2003年收购了美国零售子公司并饱受巨大的次级抵押货款损失后,风险官在审批收购时则扮演了重要的角色。“现今每一个人都要明白风险小组既需要利润方也需要风险控制方”,波斯顿金融街一家美国银行的首席风险官Maureen Miskovic如是说。
  Glamming up
  Ms Miskovic is one of an emerging breed of more powerful risk officers. They are seen as being on a par with the chief financial officer, get a say in decisions on pay and have the ear of the board, whose agreement is increasingly needed to remove them. Some report directly to a board committee as well as—or occasionally instead of—to the chief executive.
  Miskovic女士是这类新型更有权势的风险官之一。他们正被视为与首席财务官相提并论,在薪酬决策上有发言权,董事会听他们的话,要罢风险官的职务越来越多地要经过董事会的同意。风险官的有些报告不但呈递给CEO 也直接呈递给董事会——偶然情况下, 这些报告不呈递给CEO, 但是直接给董事会。
  For many, the biggest task is to dismantle cumbersome “silos”, says Ken Chalk of America’s Risk Management Association. Risks were often stuffed into convenient but misleading pigeonholes. Banks were slow to refine their approach, even as growing market complexity led some of the risks to become interchangeable.
  对许多风险官司而言,他们最大的任务是拆除繁琐的“孤岛”,美国风险管理协会的Ken Chalk如是说。风险常被轻易界定而误导方向。银行在修正方向是很迟钝的,日益增长的市场复杂性导致了一些风险交错产生。
  Take the growth of traded credit products, such as asset-backed securities and CDOs made up of them. Credit-risk departments thought of them as market risk, because they sat in the trading book. Market-risk teams saw them as credit instruments, since the underlying assets were loans. This buck-passing proved particularly costly at UBS, which lost SFr36 billion ($34 billion) on CDOs. Many banks are now combining their market- and credit-risk groups, as HSBC did last year.
  For all the new-found authority of risk managers, it can still be hard to attract talent to their ranks. The job is said to have the risk profile of a short option position with unlimited downside and limited upside—something every good risk manager should avoid. Moreover, it lacks glamour. Persuading a trader to move to risk can be “like asking a trapeze artist to retrain as an accountant”, says Barrie Wilkinson of Oliver Wyman, a consultancy.
  所有新欣的风险经理机构依然难以吸引人才加入其中。这份职业本身的风险特征就像空头期权(头寸)一样,正回报有限, 负回报(即损失)无限,这是每一个优秀的风险经理人都应尽量避免的。此外,它缺乏魅力。说服一个交易员转而关注风险“犹如把一个空中飞人再培训成一个会计师。”,奥纬咨询的咨询师Barrie Wilkinson如是说。
  A question of culture
  Besides, there is more to establishing a solid risk culture than empowering risk officers. Culture is a slippery concept, but it matters. “Whatever causes the next crisis, it will be different, so you need something that can deal with the unexpected. That’s culture,” says Colm Kelleher of Morgan Stanley. One necessary ingredient is a tradition of asking and repeating questions until a clear answer emerges, suggests Clayton Rose, a banker who now teaches at Harvard Business School.
  此外,建立牢固的风险文化要比授权给风险官要难得多。文化是个难以把握的概念,但它重要。“无论是什么引起下轮的危机,那将是不同的。因此你需要一些对不可预知事项应变的能力,那就是文化。” 摩根斯坦利Colm Kelleher认为。“其中一个必要的因素就是要有询问和不断怀疑的传统,直到一个清晰答案出现”,Clayton Rose—现在哈佛商学院教书的银行家如此建议道。
  The tone is set at the top, for better or worse. At the best-run banks senior figures spend as much time fretting over risks as they do salivating at opportunities (see article). By contrast, Lehman’s Mr Fuld talked of “protecting mother” but was drawn to the glister of leveraged deals. Stan O’Neal, who presided over giant losses at Merrill Lynch, was more empire-builder than risk manager. But imperial bosses and sound risk cultures sometimes go together, as at JPMorgan and Banco Santander.
  这种声音出自高层也许更好也许更糟。在经营最好的银行内,高层们在面对令人垂涎欲滴的良好机会时也会花许多时间来考量风险。相反,雷曼的Fuld先生谈到“保护根源”时更多是为杠杆交易的光芒所吸引。对美林的巨大损失负责的Stan O’Neal,相对于风险管理者他更是一个狂热的帝国建造者。但是有时帝国老板也能和健全的风险文化融为一体,比如摩根大通和西班牙的坦桑大通银行。
  A soft-touch boss can be more dangerous than a domineering one. Under Chuck Prince, who famously learned only in September 2007 that Citigroup was sitting on $43 billion of toxic assets, the lunatics were able to take over the asylum. Astonishingly, the head of risk reported not to Mr Prince or the board, but to a newly hired executive with a background in corporate-governance law, not cutting-edge finance.
  优柔寡断的老板可能比独断专横的老板更为危险。Chuck Prince最为出名的教训源于2007年9月花旗集团涉及430亿美元的不良资产,在此管理下,疯子们都能接管精神病院了。令人惊讶的是,风险部门的领导既没有向Prince先生报告也没有向董事会报告,而向一位毫无高端金融背景仅有公司治理法案背景的新招主管作了报告。
  Another lesson is that boards matter too. Directors’ lack of engagement or expertise played a big part in some of the worst slip-ups, including Citi’s. The “sociology” of big banks’ boards also had something to do with it, says Ingo Walter of New York’s Stern School of Business: as the members bonded, dissidents felt pressure to toe the line.
  另一教训与董事会有关。主管们缺乏约束或专业素养在那些管理疏漏最为严重的公司占了主要原因,包括花旗集团。大银行董事会的社会关系学与此也有些关联,纽约斯特恩商学院的Ingo Walter认为:因为利益联盟,持不同政见者在那些循规蹈矩者中总要承受更大的压力。
  Too few boards defined the parameters of risk oversight. In a survey last year Deloitte found that only seven of 30 large banks had done so in any detail. Everyone agrees that boards have a critical role to play in determining risk appetite, but a recent report by a group of global regulators found that many were reluctant to do this.
  Boards could also make a better job of policing how (or even whether) banks adjust for risk in allocating capital internally. Before the crisis some boards barely thought about this, naively assuming that procedures for it were well honed. A former Lehman board member professes himself “astonished”, in retrospect, at how some of the risks in the company’s property investments were brushed aside when assessing expected returns. The survivors are still struggling to create the sort of joined-up approach to risk adjustment that is common at large hedge funds, admits one Wall Street executive.
  Board games
  Robert Pozen, head of MFS Investment Management, an American asset manager, thinks bank boards would be more effective with fewer but more committed members. Cutting their size to 4-8, rather than the 10-18 typical now, would foster more personal responsibility. More financial-services expertise would help too. After the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley act in 2002 banks hired more independent directors, many of whom lacked relevant experience. The former spymaster on Citi’s board and the theatrical impresario on Lehman’s may have been happy to ask questions, but were they the right ones?
  Robert Pozen是MFS投资管理公司的领导人,一个美国资产管理专家,他认为银行董事会需要数量更少但更为忠诚的成员从而能更加高效地运转。把人数减为4-8人,而不是现在的10-18个代表,也能够培养更多的个人职责。也能提供更多的专业金融服务。2002年通过塞班斯法案后,规定银行需要雇佣更多独立董事,他们中许多是缺乏相关经验。前花旗银行董事会的超级间谍和雷曼的戏剧表演家可能会很乐意提问,但又有哪些问题是提得恰当的?
  Under regulatory pressure, banks such as Citi and Bank of America have hired more directors with strong financial-services backgrounds. Mr Pozen suggests assembling a small cadre of financially fluent “super-directors” who would meet more often—say, two or three days a month rather than an average of six days a year, as now—and may serve on only one other board to ensure they take the job seriously.
  That sounds sensible, but the case for another suggested reform—creating independent risk committees at board level—is less clear. At some banks risk issues are handled perfectly well by the audit committee or the full board. Nor is there a clear link between the frequency of risk-related meetings and a bank’s performance. At Spain’s Santander the relevant committee met 102 times in 2008. Those of other banks that emerged relatively unscathed, such as JPMorgan and Credit Suisse, convened much less often.
  Moreover, some of the most important risk-related decisions of the next few years will come from another corner: the compensation committee. It is not just investment bankers and top executives whose pay structures need to be rethought. In the past, risk managers’ pay was commonly determined or heavily influenced by the managers of the trading desks they oversaw, or their bonus linked to the desks’ performance, says Richard Apostolik, who heads the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). Boards need to eliminate such conflicts of interest.
  此外,一些未来几年内最为重要的风险决策将取决于另一方向:薪酬委员会。这不光是投行银行家和高管的薪酬结构需要重构。过去,风险经理的薪酬通常是由他们所监管的交易柜台经理来决定或受其重大影响,或者他们的奖金与柜台的业绩挂钩,全球风险专业人士协会的领导Richard Apostolik介绍说。董事会需要剔除这种利益冲突的现状。
  Meanwhile risk teams are being beefed up. Morgan Stanley, for instance, is increasing its complement to 450, nearly double the number it had in 2008. The GARP saw a 70% increase in risk-manager certifications last year. Risk is the busiest area for financial recruiters, says Tim Holt of Heidrick & Struggles, a firm of headhunters. When boards are looking for a new chief executive, they increasingly want someone who has been head of risk as well as chief financial officer, which used to be the standard requirement, reckons Mike Woodrow of Risk Talent Associates, another headhunting firm.
  同时风险团队需要增强。比如摩根斯坦利,其队伍已增至450人,差不多是2008年的两倍。全球风险专业人士协会去年也看到风险管理认证增加了70%.在金融招募中风险部门是最忙碌的,猎头公司Heidrick & Struggles的Tim Holt说到。现今董事会寻找新的行政总裁,逐渐想要那种曾有风险管理经验的和首席财务官的人选,这已成为挑选标准,另一猎头公司风险人才协会Mike Woodrow认为。
  The big question is whether this interest in controlling risk will fizzle out as economies recover. Experience suggests that it will. Bankers say this time is different—but they always do.


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