Performance Perspectives Blog

Knowing the risks one is taking

by | Sep 16, 2011

By now you probably heard about a rogue trader who’s cost his employer, UBS, some $2 billion. The bank’s risk management is being questioned, and I won’t say anymore about it at this  time.

It so happens that another, perhaps more interesting, story has surfaced regarding a 20-year old Irish national who attempted to smuggle some $200,000 worth of cocaine out of Brazil. Apparently this young man failed to consider all of the risks he was taking, which would include detection (which would lead to a trial, and likely imprisonment) and that one or more of the bags might decide to open, which could lead to death.

In order to manage risk, one must know the risks they’re taking, and decide if the action being considered is worth it. Too often this isn’t the case, be it in investing or other pursuits. Why don’t people consider the consequences of their actions? Not all risks can be properly evaluated, but some thought should go into what we do, yes?

p.s., as for the rather graphic photo, it’s a medical image that was released by the Brazilian Federal Police which shows cocaine-stuffed bags inside the gastrointestinal tract of the would-be smuggler. It’s enough to cure me from taking up this profession.

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