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Taming Risk in a Volatile World

Posted by Leo M. Tilman, May 30th, 2011, 2:40pm

Executives and investors fear that the world economy may be at risk of a worst-case systemic breakdown. But predictions of upcoming apocalypse have little value unless they are turned into a learning opportunity. Richard Levick and Leo Tilman outline how every firm must strive to make crisis management a part of executive decisions, strategic planning, and risk management.

Goldman/Facebook Deal Leverages Innovation and Dynamism

Posted by Herb Addison, April 2nd, 2011, 5:10pm

In its recent investment in Facebook, Goldman Sachs demonstrated noteworthy innovation and dynamism demanded by the new economic environment. When markets stabilized as the financial crisis subsided, like other financial firms, Goldman found that opportunities to make above-market returns vanished. Moreover, competitive pressures intensified, higher capital requirements and fee regulation threatened to diminish future earnings [...]

Go-Anywhere Funds

The Right Idea, But Let Buyers Beware
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, March 11th, 2011, 5:05pm

A typical bond fund is always exposed to the same risks, at the mercy of market forces, and challenged to effectively react to the rapidly changing financial world. Go-Anywhere funds are a move in the right direction, a response to global challenges and volatile markets. Their wide adoption and success remain to be seen.

The Imperative of Financial Innovation

Posted by Leo M. Tilman, June 8th, 2010, 10:59pm

Financial innovation can be an important contributor to economic growth, inclusion, and prosperity. This HBR article discusses how to spot potentially viable financial innovations and a setting that encourages companies and investors to use financial products responsibly.

Responding to Pressures

AllianceBernstein Is Back in the Capital Markets Business
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, January 12th, 2010, 10:35pm

Response to competitive and earnings pressures speaks volumes about a company’s financial and cultural DNA. Some firms respond to pressures by blindly taking on more risk. Others embark on business model transformations that leverage their brand and core competencies to deliver sustainable performance. AllianceBernsetein seems to be on the right path.

Needed: Strategic Vision, Not More Regulation

Risk management and other lessons learned – one year after Lehman’s collapse
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, September 20th, 2009, 7:28pm

Many believe that in response to the financial crisis, we need better regulation – and more of it. Unfortunately, regulation is unlikely to address a fundamental behavioral dynamic at play that leads to bad decisions and value destruction. A fundamental reform of how corporate executives shape strategic vision and use risk management is needed.

Evolution is Hard Work

UBS Exits Businesses While Blackstone Adapts to the New World Order
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, May 31st, 2009, 8:25pm

Multiple rounds of job cuts at UBS and its exit from important businesses pose sharp contract to actions of Blackstone and others. The concept of a static business model helps interpret these behaviors and their potential impact on future profitability.

Government As An Agent of Natural Selection?

Diverging Fortunes of Nat City and AmTrust
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, May 18th, 2009, 8:59pm

We used to think that the world of finance was governed by natural selection. Recent government actions — beyond bailouts of failed institutions — are prompting second thoughts on the subject.

A “Hedge Fund” Named AIG

Losing $60B in a Quarter? Don’t Try it At Home
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, March 10th, 2009, 8:07am

Ben Bernanke is angry. As a “hedge fund attached to a stable insurance company,” AIG made “huge irresponsible bets” by exploiting the “gap in the regulatory system” and then took huge losses. This makes it a perfect case study.

Why Do We Need a “Bad Bank?”

The Importance of a Market for Distressed Assets
Posted by Leo M. Tilman, February 17th, 2009, 1:45pm

The creation of some version of a “bad bank” remains an integral part of the Financial Stability Plan. Here is why re-establishing a market for toxic assets is as important as shoring up the banks’ capital.

Financial Darwinism explores the origins, drivers, and implications of the ongoing tectonic financial shift. It then equips executives and investors with actionable approaches to creating lasting economic value amidst complexity and uncertainty.

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