financial crisis

Barcodes of Finance 4

7.      Will blockchain technology affect the drive toward barcodes? It most definitely should—and in a positive way. The maintenance of a distributed database of identifiers, both for participants and products traded throughout the global financial supply chain is the easiest global blockchain infrastructure application to be developed. A global database of all the world’s participant and product identifiers, maybe a half billion records, is limited in scale, both as to data recorded in its distributed ledger and in its limits of processing speed—seconds required, at the most. Both parameters of speed and scale are well within the boundaries of current […]

Barcodes of Finance 3

5.      Great, the G20 set up the Financial Stability Board to set things straight. So, what’s the problem? It was thought by all that “regulatory compulsion” at such a global level, overseen by the world’s most prominent collection of leaders of the largest economies, would finally solve the collective action problem that stymied the industry from doing this on their own.  Industry members could not justify stepping aside from each firm’s own self-interest in maintaining the status quo. It would be costly to re-engineer legacy systems built in convoluted increments over the previous six decades. Everyone without exception wanted to […]

Barcodes of Finance 2

3.      What allowed non-standard transaction date to persist and what was your response? I had spent my whole career in various sectors of finance and as an advisor to many financial institutions as a consulting Partner with PwC, responsible for the Financial Services sector. I saw the same sets of transaction data described differently in each firm, even though they would need to match perfectly between firms in order to confirm the transaction with the counterparty and either receive payment or pay for it.  This disorder was managed by delaying the payment until all the details were reconciled, first by […]

Barcodes of Finance 1

After the holidays, Morty was bragging he’d been out to a new, very swanky seafood restaurant. “The maître d’ said they’re planning to bring in seafood barcodes.” I immediately pictured a slab of fish on Styrofoam with the price barcode sticker on it—straight from my local supermarket. “And this is at a high-end place?” I said skeptically. “Yeah, but it’s an identifier code, not a price sticker. It’s so the customer can verify they’re getting what they’re paying for,” he said. “Apparently there’s a big push to identify species, and make the information available.” Talking about fish barcodes reminded me […]

Origins of Canadian Banking

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 triggered a worldwide recession. The American and European banking systems experienced massive losses, takeovers, and taxpayer-funded bailouts.  Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, European debt crisis, … and the after-effects are still being felt. Canada’s banking system did have some shaky moments, as a recently published analysis of its asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) predicament showed. On the whole, however, Canada’s banks withstood the financial crisis relatively well and the financial system maintained its liquidity, solvency, and profitability.   The history of the divergence in the Canadian and American banking systems is recounted in a new book. From […]

New Dynamics in Energy Sector

How can financial risk be measured and managed in a volatile industry such as the energy sector? What are some of the common industry challenges? Due to low commodity prices and technological changes in the industry, there are new dynamics in the handling of financial risk management in the energy sector. Three speakers addressed specific changes in a webinar sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals on November 29, 2017. “Sometimes the things we think we know, we don’t,” said Gordon Goodman of NRG Energy, the first of three speakers at the webinar. Goodman’s claim to fame is publication […]

“A Series of Deals, Lost 18 Times”

“This book is about a black swan event that turned out to be the largest restructuring in Canadian history,” the moderator Marlene Puffer said as she welcomed dozens of people to a breakfast book launch, held at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto on November 9, 2016. In financial markets, the year 2007-8 was a precarious time—“things could have gone either way,” she noted. Ultimately, there was a happy ending: the value of billions of dollars of asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) in Canada was preserved and most investors were made whole. “This is the book that tells the […]

Clash of Titans

In the wake of the financial crisis, the two Titans that create accounting standards tried to hammer out agreement over how to account for impairment of loans. These bodies are the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). “FASB and IASB share the same goal but unfortunately were not able to agree on the same standard,” said Emil Lopez, Director of Risk Measurement at Moody’s Analytics. FASB calls their impairment standard “current expected credit losses” (CECL) whereas IASB deals with impairment and expected losses in their International Financial Reporting Standards as IFRS 9. Lopez was […]

Move Beyond Spreadsheets

Is your firm ready? Financial institutions are seeking answers that will help them plan a roadmap for implementation of the new current expected credit losses (CECL) standard issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). “The runway looks long but firms need to start to prepare now,” said Anna Krayn, Team Lead for Impairment, Capital Planning and Stress Testing at Moody’s Analytics. She was the second of three panellists at the webinar “The Long Road to CECL” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals on September 8, 2016. “Now is the time to educate, organize and govern, quantify, and […]

Long Road, Many Challenges

Nothing like a financial crisis to show the rough spots in estimation of losses. “Credit losses weren’t being recognized on a timely basis,” and the impairment accounting models were complex and varied widely, according to Kevin Guckian, Partner, National Professional Practice at Ernst &Young. He was the first of three panellists at the webinar “The Long Road to CECL” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals on September 8, 2016. “FASB’s final standard should accelerate recognition of credit losses,” Guckian noted, referring to the current expected credit losses (CECL) standard newly adopted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. He […]