Monday, August 7, 2017
Risk management the US Marine Corps way - it is a process
If you have to ask most people what is one of the riskiest professions, it is likely being a soldier. The downside is huge, death. The uncertainty of any battle situation is extremely high. No amount of planning can truly address the uncertainty and dynamic situations associated with battle field situations. This uncertainty and risk is why training and risk management are so critical for armed forces.
The US Marines warrant officer risk management training manual has four main principles that provide a framework for any risk discussion. These are consistent with any analysis necessary for a trade or portfolio decision. First, take risks, but not too much risk, or risks that cannot be measured. Second, always think of risk in the context of return. You have to be paid for taking risks. Three, risks should be undertaken at the right level. For example, if you are worried about portfolio risks, start with a discussion of position sizing. Four, do your homework to understand the risks that will be taken. Do your research.
Risk management principles are universal and fit a wide variety of situations and professions. There is nothing special about risk management in asset management. The words and terms may be different but the process is the same. What is critical is following the process. Mistakes will be made, but process driven decision-making will allow for effective evaluation and the certainty that the process itself was not the problem.