The financial crisis could take place all over again, BBC business editor Robert Peston told this year’s Airmic lecture. Peston and Zurich Group chief economist Daniel Hofmann were joint lecturers in an evening concerned with the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Quite a lot that needs to be done is not being grasped or with anything like the necessary urgency, Peston told Airmic members and their guests. He described the expected recovery as shallow and fragile.
The banks’ continuing exposures combined with the need to manage increased indebtedness were among the factors that could destabilise the market, he warned.
One of the causes of the crisis, he said, was that banks’ risk management functions had become facilitators whose job was to make the board’s wishes possible, rather than to prevent them from making hazardous decisions.
Hofmann highlighted the tendency of senior executives to focus on fashionable risk at the expense of others. Chief executives tended to be absorbed by the issues of the day, which crowded out their ability to think about anything else, he said.
He believed two types of shortcoming had made the crisis possible: a failure of risk management to account for complexity and a failure to obtain a comprehensive spectrum of risk. Risks today are closely linked, he said. “You have to have an understanding of how these risks are connected.”