Financial Management & Risk

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A View from the Peak: Balancing Our Carbon Budget

Earlier this year, the financial services company HSBC came out with a report in which their analysts calculated that taking climate change seriously could cut share prices of major oil companies by up to 60%. That report, Peak Planet: The next upswing for the climate agenda, held some sobering news for business. Now that it has been made freely available on the company’s website, executives concerned with managing risks may want to read it.


Why Managing Consumer Privacy Can Be an Opportunity

How many privacy policy updates does your credit card company send you each year? Companies often “manage privacy” and “keep consumers informed” by drafting their privacy policies as broadly as possible and consider their job done if they change the policy 10 times a year to fit with changing practices. However, managing privacy should not be seen by businesses as a burden. Instead, it can be a valuable way to generate and maintain a good relationship with your customers.


The Trouble With Too Much Board Oversight

The high-profile scandals of the late 1990s have increased the oversight duties of independent directors. Has the increased focus on board oversight improved the quality of board monitoring? And can board oversight become detrimental to desirable objectives? This article focuses on three aspects of oversight: design and implementation of suitable executive compensation packages; removal of underperforming CEOs; and disclosure of earnings that reflect the company’s true financial conditions.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sam Beebe, Ecotrust.

Why Boards Need to Change

Many companies have initiated sustainability and corporate social responsibility programs that represent good first steps toward improving the impact of their organizations on the environment and society. However, unless boards change, many of the initial sustainability efforts launched in corporations are likely to be temporary. For organizations to achieve sustainable effectiveness, they need a corporate board that is designed to lead in a sustainably effective way.


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Gaining a New Understanding of Risk

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

In these days of uncertain markets – and an uncertain economy – risk can seem almost omnipresent. But how do you manage risk prudently – yet still grow your company? Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Kaplan began exploring risk management in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, after he saw venerable firms such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns collapse – despite having risk management functions. Here are a few of his insights on the topic of risk management.



How to Manage Risk (After Risk Management Has Failed)

Over the past decade, a number of the world’s respected companies have collapsed. A factor was these companies’ approach to risk management. Two different views have evolved on how risk should be assessed. The first — the frequentist view — is based on historical data. The second, or Bayesian, considers risk to be in part a judgment of the observer. Many measures are being deployed to prevent future crises — a shift from frequentist to Bayesian risk management should be part of this effort.


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Must Economic Forecasts Always Fail?

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

How can managers better understand the problems inherent in economic forecasting and still make reasonable projections for their companies? In the recent article “Why Forecasts Fail. What to Do Instead,” the authors advise that managers first accept that they’re operating with uncertainty.

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