Risk News

Community-Based Program Prepares Californians for a Disaster

"In April 2011, the American Red Cross announced a multiyear initiative designed to improve the disaster readiness of more than 50 communities throughout central and Northern California."

Annie's take:

This is an amazing step forward in community preparedness, one of the last priorities for those who think "it could never happen here" or "it could not happen to me."

Risk monitoring is not yet being widely embraced

"A new Deloitte and Forbes Insights survey has found that fewer than 25 percent of executives report that their organizations continuously monitor risk."

Annie's take:

The results of this survey should be surprising, but they are not.

Rise Is Seen in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Infrastructure

"The top American military official responsible for defending the United States against cyberattacks said Thursday that there had been a 17-fold increase in computer attacks on American infrastructure between 2009 and 2011, initiated by criminal gangs, hackers and other nations."

Annie's take:

No one much likes discussing the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructure, but General Alexander has done a good job here of outlining the problem we face.

Weill Calls for Splitting Up Big Banks

"In politics, it is called flip-flopping. In banking, it is called postcrisis regrets. "

Annie's take:

Both Weill and his counterpart at Citigroup at that time now feel that some version of Glass Siegall should be reenacted. I think they are right.

New York Fed Faces Questions Over Policing Wall Street
"As the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced criticism for missing a multibillion-dollar trading loss at JPMorgan Chase, the regulator convened a town hall meeting in May to bolster employee morale."
Annie's take:

Another look inside the world of regulation. Meanwhile Treasury Secretary and former head of the New York Fed Timothy Geithner testified in front of Congress on what he and others new in 2008 about price fixing around the libor.

Reflections on "The Lost Bank"

Searle reviews the new book about the collapse of Washington Mutual Bank -- the largest bank failure in American history.

Annie's take:

Here is a review of the book. Readers may also be interested to go to www.riskuniverse.com and look over the entire excellent magazine, and sign up for a 3 month no cost subscription.

The Federal Reserve and the Libor Scandal

"On June 1, 2008, Timothy F. Geithner – then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – sent an e-mail to Mervyn A. King and Paul Tucker, then respectively governor and executive director of markets at the Bank of England "

Annie's take:

Johnson's blog questions the relationships among regulators, in this case between the Federal Reserve and the British banking system. It is hard to know at this point just how confidence in the global banking system can be increased.

Tricky lessons for the players in Liborgate

"What can shareholders and regulators reasonably expect of boards and non-executive directors of large, complex financial institutions? "

Annie's take:

A thoughtful piece that certainly applies to more than the libor issues....worth considering against all the fines and hearings being levied on the financial sector at this time.

The Longbrake Letter July 2012

"Nothing particularly dramatic occurred in June...for better or worse."

Annie's take:

So begins Bill Longbrake's most recent economic forecast, just as Ben Bernanke delivers a similar message on Capitol Hill this morning. Longbrake's entire analysis is worth reading.

Focus Shifts to Regulators in British Inquiry on Rate-Fixing

British regulators will face further scrutiny for their role in a rate-manipulation scandal when top officials at the Financial Services Authority testify on Monday before Parliament.

Annie's take:

I'm not sure everyone understands how interconnected the U.S. financial system is with other parts of the globe. Though the inquiry is being conducted in England, its ripple effects will be felt here: banks that do business internationally are affected.

Yahoo Breach Extends Beyond Yahoo to Gmail, Hotmail, AOL Users

"Another month, another major security breach."

Annie's take:

Such massive breaches remind us to change our passwords frequently, and not to use the same password for all our logins.

Regulators’ Shake-Up Seen as Missed Bid to Police JPMorgan

"After the financial crisis, regulators vowed to overhaul supervision of the nation’s largest banks. "

Annie's take:

The publication of this story a day before JPMorgan Chase reports quarterly results will put CEO Jamie Dimon in the position of having to take questions on the bank's willingness to provide information to its regulators.

The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption

"Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Libor scandal is how familiar it seems. "

Annie's take:

This article nicely compliments a discussion yesterday on Warren Ulney's NPR program in which four or so financial writers commented upon what it would take -- more regulation or self-policing or a different set of incentives -- for bankers and other professionals to do the right thing.

Bank Scandal Turns Spotlight to Regulators

"As big banks face the fallout from a global investigation into interest rate manipulation, American and British lawmakers are scrutinizing regulators who failed to take action that might have prevented years of illegal activity."

Annie's take:

Looks like a case of the pot calling the kettle black. One thing is for sure: there are large liability issues looming for all banks who participated in libor reporting.

No signs of trouble from 'Internet Doomsday' virus

"Fears that a computer virus might cut Internet access around the world appeared to be overblown  Monday after U.S. authorities removed a safety net that had protected infected machines for months."

Annie's take:

Better to have "overblown fears" than 42,000 users unable to get to the Internet.

What the ‘Internet doomsday’ virus is and how to fix it

"Thousands could lose access to the Internet on July 9 due to a virus, DNSChanger, that once infected approximately 4 million computers across the world."

Annie's take:

Even if you regularly scan your computer for viruses or other forms of malware, you should probably also run this DNS check before Monday, July 9.

Barclays’ Ex-Chief Spreads the Blame in Rate-Rigging Scandal

Robert E. Diamond Jr., the former chief executive of Barclays, told a British parliamentary committee on Wednesday that the manipulation of global interest rate benchmarks involving 14 traders at the bank had made him “physically sick.”

Annie's take:

The Barclays scandal was further amplified yesterday by the testimony of it its former CEO.

Utilities Struggle to Restore Power in East

"Utility crews struggled to catch up with a backlog of millions of people without electricity for a fourth hot day Tuesday as frustration grew and authorities feared the toll of 23 deaths could rise because of stifling conditions and generator fumes."

Annie's take:

There's nothing pretty about cleanup efforts after devasting natural disasters, whether it's wildfires in the West or ongoing power outages in the East.

Barclays CEO Robert Diamond Resigns

"The chief executive of Barclays BARC.LN +1.67% PLC, Robert Diamond, resigned Tuesday amid intense political and investor pressure from the British bank's involvement in rigging an important interest-rate benchmark—and another senior executive appeared close to following him out the door."

Annie's take:

Here's the first large decision from the Barclays board, with more certainly to come.

Shaming the banks into better ways
"The Barclays affair may lack the spice of some recent banking scandals, involving as it does the rather dry “crime” of misreporting interest rates."
Annie's take:

It's difficult to be proud of the banking profession these days. Here's an editorial in the Financial Times that gives you a couple of reasons why.