Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Risk Management: Flawed Fantasy Or Achievable Challenge?

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

By Brendan Hogan, a Masters of Applied Finance student

Lights are flashing. The screams of children are echoing off the walls. The cabin has become an ecosystem of fear and trepidation. There has been no word from the cockpit in over 20 minutes and the rattling of the Rolls-Royce engines mimic the velocity of an earthquake. A flight stewardess appears from the galley and assures the passengers everything is going to be alright. She asks everyone to put their life vests on as a precaution: “standard procedure,” she says. (more…)

Eyes wide shut: Are finance managers looking but don’t see?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

By Shane Murray

In the wake of poor returns or worse, substantial loss of wealth, Financial Managers wear the blame. Like a phoenix born from the ashes of ruin, the angry mob emerges and sprays charge at the financial sector, labelling their behaviour as reckless, their knowledge of financial markets absent and their understanding of risk as infantile. In my opinion this is a justified resolve as from inception, Financial Managers have been monitoring risk with their eyes wide shut. The inherent flaws of contemporary risk models used by Financial Institutions are well known, as too are the means of manipulating portfolios to accumulate risk not captured by their estimates. Such behaviour is reckless and wholly undermines why risk is quantified in the first place. But what choice do Traders have? Year after year shareholders demand bigger and better returns and Financial Managers find themselves in a precarious situation. Should they be reducing the exposures when the mutters of disaster begin to surface, or do they turn a blind eye and rely on their risk metrics as an appropriate scapegoat? After all, taking the safer approach, reducing risk and yielding a lesser return spell certain crucifixion at the hands of the same angry mob. So it seems the problem is twofold. Thankfully, with so much on the line, a collaborative approach to risk supervision is emerging through the Basel accords which aim to dispel such irresponsible behaviour. Unfortunately such endeavours are yet to curb the insatiable desires of the mob, which Financial Managers seem more than willing to oblige.

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Credit risk: what we know, what we don’t know and what we should know

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

By Mei Lin KER

With the deregulation of the financial markets, companies have progressed from traditional method of bank borrowing to the issuance of corporate bonds to seek capital from the general public. As a potential lender, how will you assess which company is a safer haven to park your money? Is there a way to allow you to gauge the default risk of each company so that you can make an informed choice? One of the solutions lies in credit rating agencies. The use of ratings is pervasive in today’s society. From movies to restaurants to even car safety, ratings are compiled to provide consumers a quick assessment and comparison of the desirability of the product or service. In the financial industry, credit risk ratings for corporate and sovereign debt instruments are provided by credit rating agencies (CRAs) with the current industry leaders being Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), and Fitch.

The probe by the US Congress Committee uncovered the credit rating agencies as one of the main culprits fuelling the GFC calamity. Their failure in providing correct ratings to certain complex financial products led to the severity of the financial meltdown. Under Basel II, banks utilising the standardised approach to determine their regulatory capital are required to use external credit assessments to determine the weightings for calculation of the total risk-weighted assets. Elevated to the status of “nationally recognised statistical rating organisations” (NRSROs), Moody’s, S&P and Fitch provide such external credit statistics. Though more rating agencies have been added to the list as the years passed, the Big Three maintain their dominant positions, collectively representing 95% of the market. What do we actually know about such agencies to trust their competency in providing accurate and unbiased ratings? Let’s explore further.

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Measuring market risk using historical data: Bogus or not?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

by Mei Lin Ker

Risk management has become the hottest topic ever in today’s turbulent economic climate. We are now still living in the shadows cast by the U.S. subprime crisis in 2008 which has shaken up the U.S. economy with its powerful negative aftershocks reverberating to the rest of the world. Till now, the U.S. economy is making baby steps in recovering from the economic devastation of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). As big firms collapsed and mega bailouts ensued, people are asking the fundamental question: Why did this happen? Aren’t companies which use highly sophisticated risk management tools able to foresee the impending downfall and, with the information provided, aren’t their risk managers able to take preemptive measures accordingly? Is there then something wrong with these tools or the risk managers?

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Islamic Finance: Where Religion Meets Finance

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

by Peter Verhoeven

Recently the Australian government announced that as part of its efforts to position Australia as a leading financial centre in Asia it will be pursuing opportunities to develop Islamic finance in this country. Naturally, this announcement has prompted mixed reactions. In the following essay Islamic finance is explained and some of the key issues surrounding this announcement are discussed.

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At Sixes and Sevens over New Retirement Policy

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

by Tim Robinson

In its May budget Australia’s Rudd government announced that by 2023 a new retirement age will have been phased in. The new retirement age will increase from the current 65 years to 67 years. When the new policy is in place a raft of existing arrangements and mind-sets will change. Whether it be eligibility for the age pension, policies regarding self-funded retirees’ access to their superannuation balances, eligibility for seniors’ cards, or simply acceptance of a new bench-mark for what constitutes being over the hill, the new retirement age will usher in its own economic and social consequences.  

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Emissions Trading Furphy

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

by Cameron Murray.

Is the Rudd Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) the most effective policy for controlling emissions that can be implemented at a national level?  Will it curtail our carbon footprint while minimising the impact on Australian business and households, as the delivery of the Government’s CPRS Green Paper (in July 2008) and White Paper (in December 2008) claims it does? Cameron Murray, an economics graduate of QUT’s Master of Business (Research) program, believes it can.

This brief essay aims to inform the curious onlooker of the theoretical arguments that have informed the political debate over the Rudd government’s proposed CPRS in recent times. There has been a fiery debate over whether the scheme inhibits the ability of households and businesses to take a proactive approach to reducing their own demands on emission producing energy sources.   Cameron Murray disagrees.

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