A Financial 9/11?

Last week, two past chairmen of the US Federal Reserve provided their perspectives on the current financial crisis gripping the world economies.  Alan Greenspan testified before the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that we are experiencing a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami”.  He went on to say that, “In 2005, I raised concerns that the protracted period of underpricing of risk, if history was any guide, would have dire consequences.”

However, in a 2005 speech, Mr. Greenspan lauded the sophistication of risk management related to derivatives that led to us to the current financial market collapse.  He noted the following, 

“The use of a growing array of derivatives and the related application of more-sophisticated approaches to measuring and managing risk are key factors underpinning the greater resilience of our largest financial institutions…”

Another former chairman, Paul Volcker, provided a simpler view at a roundtable session at Columbia University last week.  He stated, 

“We are dealing with unprecedented events, and unprecedented events call for unprecedented measures.  I think we really are going to have to rebuild the system pretty much from the ground up.”

Instead of a “tsunami”, maybe Mr. Greenspan should have used a different metaphor – a financial 9/11, perhaps?  Just as we are now rebuilding the World Trade Center, we will need to rebuild, according to Mr. Volcker, the financial system headquartered only a few blocks away on Wall Street.  Your thoughts?


About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

2 Responses to A Financial 9/11?

  1. Kevin says:

    Comparing the loss of money or even a recession to the loss of human life is absurd.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kevin. Your point is well taken and certainly true. In fact, most people should have the same perspective in times like these. While financial issues do lead to major challenges such as loss of jobs, health insurance, homes, ability to buy consumer goods like food and medicine, it does not mean they will die. They will only suffer a more difficult life. But as George Bailey would say, “It’s A Wonderful Life!”.

    Best regards,

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