Risk controller

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Risk Anatomy™
Shit fan.jpg
A risk controller asleep at the switch yesterday

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One of those fabulous men and women whose job is to make sure the institution they represent doesn’t unwittingly poke itself in the eye.

People in these departments:

These poor people are the wrong side of an asymmetric option: no risk controller ever got credit for approving a deal that was colossally profitable, but plenty were eviscerated and left to dangle outside the city walls for neglecting to stop one that wasn’t[1] so you shouldn’t begrudge them the outlandishly risk-averse behavior in which they will inevitably indulge.

After all, we spend large parts of our daily life catering for contingencies that will never happen. Look upon a control function as a sort of insurance against risk. You pay a cost/premium upfront (in time and organisational resources) to have someone manage the risk. But are these meaningful contingencies or just comfort blankets – paper tigers and imaginary monsters that, as individuals we are professionally incentivised to treat as real?

The collective noun for a group of risk controllers is a palaver.

See also


  1. This is, of course, outrageous hyperbole. No risk officer was so much as gruffly reprimanded for not anticipating the forthcoming global financial crisis: the circle of escalation saw to that.