Monday, December 07, 2009

The "Zero-Risk Era"

I could never work be general counsel of a bank - or at least, that's what I've got to conclude after reading this piece in Corporate Counsel about the global risk regulatory paradigm set up in the Basel II Accord. Under Basel II, financial institutions must do sweeping and detailed analysis of "operational risks," complete with meetings, analysis, documentation and record-keeping.

Put aside the process issues and garbage-in, garbage-out nature of this kind of program. Simply think about this: Operating a successful business is a continuous exercise in taking on "operational risk." Hopefully this risk is smart; hopefully it is vastly outweighed by opportunity on the other side. But it involves risks none the same -and working toward a "zero-risk era" is not only fraught with risks of its own, but also does a disservice to that which makes businesses great.

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