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jerryking : risk-mitigation   13

He Grew Up on a Farm. Now, He Helps Protect Them.
Oct. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Norman Mayersohn.

Books: Warren Buffett biography, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist,”

Few livelihoods offer as many paths to failure as agriculture. Throughout history, farmers have been at the mercy of nature — be it weather, pests or crop diseases — even as the survival of people and livestock depended on their success...... Thomas Njeru, is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Microinsurance — think of it as an offshoot of the microloan programs that kick-start businesses in impoverished areas — provides protection for low-income individuals who do not have access to conventional coverage....Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest......People in Africa don't invest in agriculture because the chance of them losing their money due to the vagaries of the weather is huge.........Pula’s mission is to give farmers confidence by providing risk mitigation. Our solutions protect a farmer’s investment by pairing it with insurance. We build business cases to persuade Fortune 500 companies, seed and fertilizer suppliers, lending institutions, and governments in Africa, that embedded insurance will help deliver better results for both businesses and food security....The sad reality is that farmers are one drought or one disease outbreak away from sliding into absolute poverty......the penetration of agriculture insurance in Africa is less than 1 percent. The reason is that insurance companies’ business models are not set up to serve the unique needs of smallholder farmers......scaling Pula’s business model to the point that insured seed and fertilizer become ubiquitous in the market......The average annual insurance premium per farmer is about $3 to $5. This includes the cost of product development, pricing, underwriting, claim adjustment and, of course, the claim costs. We use artificial intelligence, mobile-based registration systems, remote sensing and automation tools...Agriculture insurance is a cemetery of pilots and trials..
Africa  agriculture  behavioral_change  books  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  crop_insurance  farming  insurance  Kenya  low-income  microfinance  mobile_applications  poverty  precarious  Pula  seeds  smallholders  start_ups  risks  risk-mitigation  Warren_Buffett  weather 
october 2019 by jerryking
Have Americans Given Up?
MAR 5, 2017 | The Atlantic | by DEREK THOMPSON.
...this is a mirage, according to the economist and popular writer Tyler Cowen, whose new book is The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. In fact, the nation's dynamism is in the dumps. Americans move less than they used to. They start fewer companies. Caught in the hypnotic undertow of TV and video games, they are less likely to go outside. Even the federal government itself has transformed from an investment vehicle, which once spent a large share of its money on infrastructure and research, to an insurance conglomerate, which spends more than half its money on health care and Social Security. A nation of risk-takers has become a nation of risk-mitigation experts...So, what happened? Cowen’s thought-provoking book emphasizes several causes, including geographic immobility, housing prices, and monopolization.....several studies have shown that many U.S. workers don’t start new companies because they’re afraid of losing their employer-sponsored health insurance. A single-payer system might increase overall entrepreneurial activity. As I read Cowen’s book, I thought of an acrobat show. No circus performer wants to leap between swings without a net to catch them as they fall. The trick is to design for safety without designing for complacency.
large_companies  dynamism  America_in_Decline?  self-defeating  Tyler_Cowen  economists  books  innovation  illusions  Silicon_Valley  geographic_mobility  economic_mobility  housing  Donald_Trump  elitism  restlessness  safety_nets  risk-mitigation  monopolies  the_American_dream 
march 2017 by jerryking
Steven Mnuchin’s Defining Moment: Seizing Opportunity From the Financial Crisis - WSJ
By RACHEL LOUISE ENSIGN, ANUPREETA DAS and REBECCA BALLHAUS
Updated Dec. 1, 2016.

Federal officials expected to suffer as much as $8 billion in losses from IndyMac. That left regulators looking for someone to take over the bank and mitigate the damage. Speed was essential, since the FDIC was bracing for a wave of additional bank failures.

Mr. Mnuchin assembled an all-star cast drawn from his years on Wall Street, including Mr. Soros, hedge-fund manager John Paulson, billionaire Michael Dell’s investment firm and several former Goldman executives, including J. Christopher Flowers. They signed up on the basis that Mr. Mnuchin would personally run the bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

By now, he knew that few bidders would be willing to buy all the failed bank’s assets. And he knew he was taking a giant risk.

At the end of 2008, Mr. Mnuchin persuaded the FDIC to sell IndyMac for about $1.5 billion. The deal included IndyMac branches, deposits and assets. The FDIC also agreed to protect the buyers from the most severe losses for years. That loss-sharing arrangement turned out to be a master stroke.
Carpe_diem  creating_opportunities  defining_moments  economic_downturn  financial_services  Goldman_Sachs  kairos  opportunistic  rainmaking  risk-mitigation  risk-sharing  seminal_moments  Steven_Mnuchin  turnarounds  vulture_investing 
december 2016 by jerryking
At BlackRock, a Wall Street Rock Star’s $5 Trillion Comeback - The New York Times
SEPT. 15, 2016 | NYT | By LANDON THOMAS Jr.

(1) Laurence Fink: “If you think you know everything about our business, you are kidding yourself,” he said. “The biggest question we have to answer is: ‘Are we developing the right leaders?’” “Are you,” he asked, “prepared to be one of those leaders?”

(2) BlackRock was thriving because of its focus on low-risk, low-cost funds and the all-seeing wonders of Aladdin. BlackRock sees the future of finance as being rules-based, data-driven, systematic investment styles such as exchange-traded funds, which track a variety of stock and bond indexes or adhere to a set of financial rules. Fink believes that his algorithmic driven style will, over time, grow faster than the costlier “active investing” model in which individuals, not algorithms, make stock, bond and asset allocation decisions.

Most money management firms highlight their investment returns first, and risk controls second. BlackRock has taken a reverse approach: It believes that risk analysis, such as gauging how a security will trade if interest rates go up or down, improves investment results.

(3) BlackRock, along with central banks, sovereign wealth funds — have become the new arbiters of "flow.“ It is not about the flow of securities anymore, it is about the flow of information and indications of interest.”

(4) Asset Liability and Debt and Derivatives Investment Network (Aladdin), is BlackRock's big data-mining, risk-mitigation platform/framework. Aladdin is a network of code, trades, chat, algorithms and predictive models that on any given day can highlight vulnerabilities and opportunities connected to the trillions that BlackRock firm tracks — including the portion which belongs to outside firms that pay BlackRock a fee to have access to the platform. Aladdin stress-tests how securities will respond to certain situations (e.g. a sudden rise in interest rates or what happens in the event of a political surprise, like Donald J. Trump being elected president.)

In San Francisco, a team of equity analysts deploys data analysis to study the language that CEOs use during an earnings call. Unusually bearish this quarter, compared with last? If so, maybe the stock is a sell. “We have more information than anyone,” Mr. Fink said.
systematic_approaches  ETFs  Wall_Street  BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  traders  complacency  future  finance  Aladdin  risk-management  financiers  financial_services  central_banks  money_management  information_flows  volatility  economic_downturn  liquidity  bonds  platforms  frameworks  stress-tests  monitoring  CEOs  succession  risk-analysis  leadership  order_management_system  sovereign_wealth_funds  market_intelligence  intentionality  data_mining  collective_intelligence  risk-mitigation  rules-based  risks  asset_values  scaling  scenario-planning  databases 
september 2016 by jerryking
China will keep spying. Canada must respond with skill, not rhetoric - The Globe and Mail
DAVID MULRONEY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jul. 31 2014

China uses its long reach for objectives other than espionage. It feels free to confront any Canadian who shows undue interest in “sensitive” topics. Members of Parliaments, mayors, academics and community leaders have been bullied for displaying interest in the Dalai Lama, conditions in China’s restive Xinjiang region, or the plight of Falun Gong practitioners.

This is unacceptable, but here’s the hard part: we can expect more of the same. A rising but insecure China will not shrink from clandestine and downright unfriendly tactics to advance its interests.

We need to be clear-eyed in facing up to this. But we also need to recognize that our future prosperity, security and well-being depend on maintaining our own intelligently self-interested relationship with China.

So let’s start by banishing the rhetoric. China is not our best friend, any more than it is the sum of all fears. We do need to acknowledge and address the real threat China poses to our security.

Government needs to lead the way, but Canadian companies also need to step up their game. Enhanced security consciousness starts at the top. There are all too many anecdotes about security minded employees being over-ruled by senior executives who are worried about offending inquisitive Chinese visitors. That exquisite sensitivity is never reciprocated when it is the turn of the Chinese to host foreign guests....The one thing that we should avoid doing is closing doors to co-operation. Unfortunately, that’s already happening, and companies on both sides of the Pacific are paying a price. The Chinese media are portraying the U.S. technology sector as a major security threat. This makes it fair game for overly zealous regulators, and plays into the longstanding Chinese inclination to make life tougher for foreign firms. This week, investigators descended on Microsoft offices in China. Meanwhile the China operations of U.S.-based chip maker Qualcomm are also under review. Firms like Apple and Google have felt a similar chill.

Here in North America, China’s telecom giant Huawei is our bête noir, accused of being a proxy for the Chinese security apparatus. These allegations find a ready audience among a Canadian public that, as recent polling has shown, is increasingly wary of China.

It’s hard to argue against caution when it comes to China. But we’re jumping from naive acceptance to complete risk avoidance. There is an intermediate step – risk mitigation. Although its approach is not without controversy, the U.K. has opted for a partnership with Huawei that sees the Chinese company funding an inspection process in Britain designed to reduce security risks.

Complete risk avoidance, or shutting our door to China, comes at a cost that falls on consumers, on smaller companies seeking access to global markets, and on communities seeking investment....China is at the heart of changes that expose us to new levels of threat and uncertainty. We need to respond with skill, purpose and confidence. The only thing more dangerous than engaging China is not engaging it.
anecdotal  Canada  Canada-China_relations  cyberespionage  China  David_Mulroney  espionage  frenemies  Huawei  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  inquisitiveness  purpose  risk-aversion  risk-avoidance  risk-management  risk-mitigation  security_consciousness  security_&_intelligence  self-confidence  threats  uncertainty 
july 2014 by jerryking
Ken Lombard, on Staying a Student of Business - NYTimes.com
By ADAM BRYANT
Published: July 6, 2013

When I go and speak to B-school students, the point I try to emphasize is, don’t stop being a student of the game. Don’t think that when you get out of this institution with your degree that now you walk on water. This should make you hungrier than you’ve ever been, because there are people who are coming out with fewer credentials who are very, very hungry....The time I spent working with Howard Schultz at Starbucks [as president of Starbucks Entertainment] was a tremendous learning experience for me in a lot of ways. He was very disciplined in that he was such a thorough and deep thinker, and would really commit to diving in and looking closely at any particular situation, and would turn over every stone. But he would not get stuck on the analysis side, and would have the guts to make the decision, and not accept the status quo....I’m a guy who comes from hard work, and I’m a guy who comes with an approach that says, before I make a tough decision, I want to be on the ground, I want to roll up my sleeves and understand the opportunity. While I understand that analysis tells you what you need to hear in how you need to structure a deal, there’s a difference between deal makers and analysts. Analysts can tell you everything wrong with the deal; the deal maker is going to try to figure out a way to come up with a structure that makes sense.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore what the numbers tell you, but you should try to figure out a structure that mitigates your downside. I try to make sure they understand that deal-making takes some guts. You can’t develop that in a short period. You have to be willing to go out and get the experience, and not think that this is going to happen for you overnight.

You can speed up the learning curve by positioning yourself in a way so people who have the experience want to help you. You have to make it conducive for them to really want to provide you with the information. Then become a sponge. That will help accelerate some of it. Go to someone who has done this before and try to get them to provide you with some guidance, so you’re not reinventing the wheel.
African-Americans  Magic_Johnson  commercial_real_estate  Starbucks  torchbearers  entrepreneur  dealmakers  deal-making  learning_curves  mentoring  life_long_learning  analysis  hard_work  Jason_Isaacs  risk-mitigation  staying_hungry  analysts  assessments_&_evaluations  playing_in_traffic  reinventing_the_wheel 
july 2013 by jerryking
An Elizabethan Cyberwar - NYTimes.com
May 31, 2013 | NYT | By JORDAN CHANDLER HIRSCH and SAM ADELSBERG.

Instead of trying to beat back the New World instability of the Internet with an old playbook, American officials should embrace it. With the conflict placed in its proper perspective, policy makers could ratchet down the rhetoric and experiment with a new range of responses that go beyond condemnation but stop short of all-out cyberwar — giving them the room to maneuver without approaching cyberconflict as a path to Defcon 1.

In these legally uncharted waters, only Elizabethan guile, not cold war brinkmanship, will steer Washington through the storm.
cunning  cyber_warfare  China  China_rising  U.S.  security_&_intelligence  guile  lessons_learned  contextual  Elizabethan  cyber_security  instability  resilience  perspectives  tools  frenemies  espionage  risk-mitigation  policy_tools  cyberweapons  U.S.-China_relations  policymakers  policymaking  playbooks 
june 2013 by jerryking
Dramatic temperature increases could threaten Canadian health, infrastructure - The Globe and Mail
Jan. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

Canada is getting hotter faster than ever before and at a faster rate than almost any other country. Rain, snow, sleet and hail storms are becoming more erratic. What were once considered exceptional weather patterns – the kind researchers reject to avoid skewing their data – are becoming common....Canada’s infrastructure wasn’t built for this kind of climate. And much of the burden falls on municipal governments, with road, sewer and transit systems that can barely cope with existing weather conditions, let alone future vagaries.

“There’s a very large gap in terms of the current health of municipal infrastructure in Canada and where we should be right now,” said Paul Kovacs, University of Western Ontario economist and executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a group established by Canada’s insurance industry to research the costs of natural disasters and how to mitigate them....The effects of erratic weather patterns became very real for Ontario’s apple farmers last year: An early thaw followed by an unexpected frost wiped out 82 per cent of the province’s crop. Now, the industry – worth about $100-million in Ontario alone – is trying to figure out how to weatherproof itself. Potential fixes are wind breaks, hail nets, frost fans and sunscreen for apples to prevent damage from sunlight and heat. It’s expensive and uncertain, especially when the weather becomes tougher to predict. Leslie Huffman, Ontario’s apple production specialist, is working with the province on evaluating new techniques.
apples  anomalies  Canada  catastrophes  climate_change  extreme_weather_events  infrastructure  insurance  municipalities  natural_calamities  risk-mitigation  weather 
january 2013 by jerryking
Real-World Advice for the Young
04.11.05 | Forbes | Rich Karlgaard.

We owe our young people ...a set of "road rules" for the real world.

Purpose. Every young person needs to know that he was created for a purpose. ...I would, however, argue that there is also an economic purpose to our lives. It is to discover our gifts, make them productive and find outlets for their best contribution.

Priorities. The best single piece of advice from Peter Drucker: Stop thinking about what you can achieve; think about what you can contribute (to your company, your customers, your marriage, your community). This is how you will achieve. Enron had an achievement-first culture; it just achieved the wrong things...how many schools teach young people to think in terms of contribution?

Preparation. Lest you think I'm urging young people down a Mother Teresa-like path of self-sacrifice, I'm not. The task is to fit purpose and contribution into a capitalistic world. There is a crying need for prepared young people who can thrive in a realm of free-market capitalism. This great system works magnificently, but it doesn't work anything like the way it's taught in most universities. In the real world, the pie of resources and wealth is not fixed; it is growing all the time. In the real world, the game is not rigged and static; rather, money and talent move at the speed of light in the direction of freedom and opportunity. In the real world, greed is bad (because it takes your eye off customers), but profits are very good. Profits allow you to invest in the future. In the real world, rising living standards do not create pollution. Instead, they create an informed middle class that wants and works to reduce pollution.

Pan-global view. The economy is global.... There is no going back.

Partner. Many of the great startups of the last 30 years began as teams of two...Behind this phenomenon is a principle: Build on your strengths. To mitigate your weaknesses--and we all have them--partner up! Find your complement.
Perseverance. Young people are smarter and more sophisticated today. It's not even close. My own generation's SAT scores look like they came out of baseball's dead-ball era. But apart from the blue-collar kids who are fighting in Iraq, most American kids today are soft. That's a harsh statement, isn't it? But cultural anecdotes back it up. Kids weigh too much. Fitness is dropping. Three American high schoolers ran the mile in under four minutes in the 1960s. It's been done by one person since. Parents sue coaches when Johnny is cut from the team. Students sue for time extensions on tests. New college dorms resemble luxury hotels. College grads, unable to face the world, move back in with their parents and stay for years.

Does this sound like a work force you'd send into combat against the Chinese?
in_the_real_world  Rich_Karlgaard  advice  Peter_Drucker  youth  students  entrepreneurship  partnerships  rules_of_the_game  purpose  globalization  Junior_Achievement  perseverance  millennials  serving_others  priorities  preparation  profits  greed  fitness  talent_flows  capital_flows  static  risk-mitigation  complacency  blue-collar  Chinese  capitalism  self-sacrifice  young_people  anecdotal 
august 2012 by jerryking
UNPRECEDENTED VOLATILITY A HALLMARK OF AGRICULTURE’S NEW AGE
* Have a plan for the future – perhaps a surprise to some, but many farmers don’t have a plan in place that paints a vision for where they want to take their operation over the next 2, 5 and 10 years.
• Have credit in place before it is actually required – it is human nature to leave things to the last minute.
• Implement a sound hedging strategy – in addition to the system of crop insurance in place in this country, there are many ways that Canadian farmers can take actions to manage their risk. Diversifying into new businesses is one example.
• Well-managed risk can pay off – at the same time, taking on some risk that is prudent and ts the risk pro le of the farming operation can pay off handsomely for farmers. In such a volatile and fast paced environment, there are bound to be some buying and selling opportunities that open up. Knowing when to take advantage of them can separate successful farms with those that muddle along.
• Know your costs – many producers have a good sense of how their top line is performing. But it is just as impor-tant to have a good understanding of the cost side of the equation.
• Maintain adequate liquidity and reasonable leverage – in order to mitigate the risks associated with increasing asset prices, it would be prudent for farmers to ensure that they have sufficient liquidity and manageable leverage if they are expanding.
• Use reasonable interest rate assumptions in assessing investment opportunities – even though borrowing costs are unusually low, farmers must be mindful of the fact that this low-rate environment won’t last forever.
agriculture  uncertainty  volatility  farming  liquidity  leverage  hedging  futures_contracts  diversification  new_businesses  risks  risk-management  risk-taking  OPMA  WaudWare  interest_rates  vision  long-term  never_forever  business_planning  credit  costs  anticipating  risk-mitigation  low-interest  cost-consciousness 
may 2012 by jerryking
To risk or not to risk? Where (and when) should be the question
Sep 3, 2007 |The Globe and Mail pg. B.6 | Daniel F. Muzyka, Glen Donaldson

First, risk can sometimes be asymmetric: bad news being more "bad" than good news is "good". For example, while a business project that goes particularly well might deliver slightly ahead of expectations, a bad project that goes off the rails may far exceed its time and budget...Second, risk is often interconnected: the knee-bone is connected to the shin-bone is connected to the foot-bone.
...Third, risks can be multiplicative, with a series of small risks combining to produce large outcomes....The good news is that advancements in risk management can help produce insight and can deal with some of the risks. One can consider four steps to managing risk: identification, measurement, mitigation, and monitoring.
ProQuest  Daniel_Muzyka  risk-management  insights  large_payoffs  measurements  compounded  interconnections  risk-mitigation  multiplicative  risks  network_risk  asymmetrical  cumulative  risk-assessment  bad_news 
october 2011 by jerryking
What, me worry? (1)
September 30, 2005 | Globe & Mail | by Doug Steiner.
Tsunamis, asteroids, central bankers - how do you protect one portfolio
against all those risks? Systemic versus personal risk.

"Unfortunately, risk is rarely that clear cut. It comes in many forms, and we all think of it in different ways. Many of us have trouble putting risks into appropriate categories. We often mash all of them together or worry too much about spectacular calamities. To get a handle on things, you need to create a proper hierarchy of anxieties and then deal with them in an orderly fashion.

Many academics split risks into two buckets. Systemic risk is general risk--risk that affects large groups of people, such as the stock market crashing or a hurricane wiping out a city. Personal risk relates to individuals making choices, such as trying to balance on a balcony railing after downing three or four martinis."
Doug_Steiner  category_errors  risk-assessment  systemic_risks  personal_risk  insurance  panics  natural_calamities  risk-mitigation  risks  disasters 
march 2009 by jerryking

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