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jerryking : underinvestments   4

World’s largest asset manager rails against companies’ short-term thinking - The Globe and Mail
BOYD ERMAN
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 23 2014,

...Mr. Fink is worried that the great tide of economic growth is not rising as quickly as it could be because of persistent and pernicious short-term thinking. Everyone from Main Street to Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue is too focused on near-term waves to pay attention to what the overall water level is doing.

Blogs, polls, the story of the moment – that is what drives peoples’ thinking, he says. That means investment decisions and political moves are based on what’s happening now, and not long-term goals. The economy will bear the cost of this short-term obsession, and so will investors, Mr. Fink warns. He would like to see big changes in everything from accounting to corporate governance to government spending priorities, to reset the focus on more distant horizons....“We need executives in business to start focusing on what is right in the long run,” ...“Societies are having a hard time, politically and economically, adjusting to the immediacy of information: The 24/7 news cycle, blogs, the instantaneous information. It’s very hard. This is one of the things where we are developing a crisis.”...Mr. Fink is particularly frustrated with the lionization of activist investors in the media. Think Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn and others who push for changes that will lead to an immediate runup in the stock price,....Similarly, he is critical of accounting rules that push insurance companies to invest in shorter-term assets, rather than long-term projects such as infrastructure. “Everything is leading toward an underinvestment in infrastructure and an underinvestment in capital expenditures.”...In 1999, the company went public. It has grown incredibly fast ever since. It manages money for everyone from retail investors to pension plans. During the financial crisis, the U.S. Treasury hired BlackRock to run assets in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the Bank of Greece hired the company to help fix the country’s banking system. (Model for WaudWare?)
BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  long-term  Boyd_Erman  Wall_Street  delayed_gratification  thinking  strategic_thinking  Communicating_&_Connecting  CEOs  money_management  shareholder_activism  immediacy  insurance  infrastructure  CAPEX  short-term  short-term_thinking  financial_pornography  pension_funds  underinvestments  noise  pay_attention 
may 2014 by jerryking
Business continuity: Making it through the storm
Nov 10th 2012 | The Economist |Anonymous.

Hurricane Sandy was another test of how well businesses can keep going when disaster strikes...GOLDMAN SACHS’S latest shrewd investment was in sandbags and back-up electricity generators. As Hurricane Sandy approached New York, the bags were stacked around its headquarters. It was one of the few offices in downtown Manhattan to remain dry and well-illuminated as “Frankenstorm” battered the city.

Meanwhile, a block farther down West Street, the headquarters of Verizon were awash with salty flood water, soaking cables delivering phone and internet services to millions of customers. The firm was able to reroute much of the traffic through other parts of its network, but local service was disrupted....Sandy is the latest catastrophic event to test the readiness of the world’s leading firms to cope with disaster. Most firms have improved “business continuity” preparations over the years. The Y2K scare at the turn of the century moved IT risk high up the list of worries. The attacks of September 11th 2001 warned firms of the danger of putting all their computers (and staff) in the same place (jk: concentration risk; SPOF)....“Firms are increasingly reliant on networks, but often fail to understand the risks that networks bring,” says Don Tapscott, a management guru. Global supply chains, just-in-time and shifting to the “cloud” tend to bind once unrelated activities ever closer together, making them more prone to failing at the same time. The current fad for moving data to the “cloud” may appear to reduce risk because there is so much spare capacity in the web. Yet some firms offering cloud services have more concentrated operations than (jk: concentration risk).

Firms are starting to recognise their vulnerability to cyber-attack, but few have much idea what they would do if it happened. Mr Tapscott thinks boards should have a committee explicitly focused on understanding IT and network risks and ensuring they are properly managed....Dutch Leonard, a risk expert at Harvard Business School, says that the best-prepared firms use a combination of planning for specific events and planning to cope with specific consequences, such as a loss of a building or supplier, regardless of the cause. He also recommends copying an approach used by the armed forces: using a group of insiders to figure out how the firm could be brought down [ jk: white hats]....Firms should make lobbying government to invest heavily in upgrading that infrastructure a core part of their risk-management strategy, argues Irwin Redlener of the National Centre for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

Goldman Sachs has long been a leader in disaster planning because it understands that the situations in which it might not be able to function are exactly the sort of events when very large changes in the value of its investments could occur, says Mr Leonard. Yet too many firms underinvest in planning for disaster because they don’t think it will pay, at least within the short-term timeline by which many now operate, reckons Yossi Sheffi of MIT.
beforemath  boards_&_directors_&_governance  business-continuity  catastrophes  compounded  concentration_risk  crisis  cyberattacks  cyber_security  disasters  disaster_preparedness  Don_Tapscott  Goldman_Sachs  Hurricane_Sandy  isolation  natural_calamities  networks  network_risk  New_York_City  optimism_bias  preparation  readiness  red_teams  resilience  risks  risk-management  short-term  SPOF  step_change  supply_chains  surprises  underinvestments  valuations  vulnerabilities  white_hats 
november 2012 by jerryking
Needed: national urban strategy - The Globe and Mail
Mar. 29, 2011|G&M|CAROL WILDING & MERV HILLIER.
Infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth of our cities. Our
report, Toronto as a Global City, documents what any commuter in rush
hour can tell you. Canada’s transportation systems have fallen well
behind those of the rest of the world. Among 23 global cities, 3 of the
bottom 5 positions in the transportation ranking are Canadian (Toronto,
Vancouver & Halifax). The avg. commuter round trip ranges from 67 to
80 minutes. Toronto again is last, longer than NYC, London and LA.
Canada has to do better. If employees and goods can’t get to their
destination on time, productivity will suffer. The quality and
availability of infrastructure directly affect business locations and
operations. In the GTA, congestion now costs the economy $6-B annually;
that will rise to $15-B annually by 2031 without sufficient levels of
investment. Across the country, the cost of underinvestment in just our
transportation infrastructure is even higher.
Toronto  urban  strategy  congestion  commuting  rush-hour  cities  infrastructure  underinvestments  traffic_congestion 
april 2011 by jerryking
FT.com / Companies / Energy - Water shortage promises times of plenty for private sector
April 4, 2007 Financial Times pg. 2, by Leslie Crawford in
Barcelona.

Opportunities for water -companies are booming around the world because
of looming shortages and decades of underinvestment, a conference in
Barcelona heard yesterday.
water  opportunities  infrastructure  scarcity  shortages  underinvestments 
march 2009 by jerryking

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