Friday, February 29, 2008

Playing with risk

I received this rather intriguing email from Eurofinance, which organises conferences for corporate treasurers, regarding a new board game they are going to unleash at Eurofinance Miami 2008.

Called, 'Cash Flow at Risk', Eurofinance designed the game to teach treasurers how to come to grips with the cash flow, credit and liquidity uncertainties ahead. I do wonder though if they should be targeting it more at the banks, given that it was them that seemed to lose their way.

Apparently, HSBC uses the board game as part of its corporate training, although one wonders if a board game, let alone a major credit crunch, is really going to teach banks anything about risk.

You may think I am being a little harsh, but the other day a risk management consultant told me he had started a training company as a sideline for his consultancy business, as selling risk to banks was a bit of a difficult sell. No bank wanted to really think about risk too much as it might stem their financially motivated creative urges.

The board game requires participants to answer economic questions in order to progress, but one has a feeling for some participants it would be a case of "Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200".

Can a board game though really teach treasurers about the "dangers ahead"? Is a simple toss of the dice and answering a few economic questions going to resonate with financial managers sitting in boardrooms across the country, the very same managers who in the real world, and not one confined to a board game, perhaps saw the warning signs but chose to ignore them?

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