Informe: Management and the Financial Crisis

 

Título: Management and the Financial Crisis

Autor: William A. Sahlman

Este informe, que por cierto, está disponible para lectura en PDF, tiene una extensión suficiente como para comentarlo y añadir unas citas.

La razón de mi interés proviene del intento del autor de detallar y explicar las razones de la crisis desde una perspectiva más amplia y profunda de las que se suelen usar en los medios. Eso lleva a mirar el tema desde un punto de vista quizá no del todo nuevo pero sí bastante poco explotado, y lo hace de una manera bastante amena.

Me pareció bastante interesante leerlo a pesar de que no estoy demasiado interesado en la economía en su forma habitual y las ideas y conclusiones que emplea me parecen perfectamente aplicables a cualquier otra área, como por ejemplo el desarrollo de software.

A continuación algunas citas para incitar a su lectura:

 

[…] when managers have strong incentives to grow profits or gain market share in highly competitive industries, they often become more aggressive in areas like pricing and product innovation. Otherwise they lose market share and suffer worse relative performance, at least in the short run.

Competitive pressures can result in a classic “race to the bottom” in standards.

[…] the path of least resistance was to lower the standards for granting a loan and/or come up with unique pricing schemes like offering low introductory rates.

It never occurred to anyone that housing prices would ever do anything but go up.

The CEO and executive team were responsible for the financial health of the company and failed to appreciate the joint riskiness of decisions made in a number of business units. The individuals running specific business units didn’t make sensible decisions.

[About auditors and regulators] on average, they were tasked with auditing really smart and clever people doing complicated activities.

Moreover, bubbles are part of our basic economic system. They have always existed and there is no way to eliminate them. Therefore, any recommendations for management must take into account that each day we are one day closer to the next bubble.

What really caused the financial meltdown was uncertainty about the size of the losses and the interconnected risks caused by derivative securities. Everyone became risk averse simultaneously, everyone worried about everyone else, and everyone panicked.

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