Lawyers Pass the Bar. Why Don’t We Test Risk Managers?

If I had been a lawyer, I would have needed to pass the bar. No bank would have let me do their accounting if I weren’t a CPA. Doctors are thoroughly vetted. But the truth is risk managers — a crucial function inside banks and at other companies — have no professional standards of practice to validate their qualification. And yet, such standards in the field of risk management would be tremendously valuable. Sophisticated financial engineering and best practice risk management have added significant value over the past 20 years, but financial engineering and the failure to make risk transparent in too many cases played a significant role in obscuring the true economic condition and risk-taking of financial companies in the run-up to the 2007-2009 crises.

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