Risk Management Policies In Financial Services: Hedge Funds

Many financial services make use of a well-structured risk management policy to manage their day-to-day exposure to risk, including exclusive investment entities such as hedge funds. For many years hedge funds were considered the high-stakes bad boys of the investing world; an image that the industry despised and rejected in the public eye, yet celebrated behind the closed doors of their high-rise offices and their swanky exclusive nightclubs. Over the past 36 months the hedge fund community has stepped up their efforts to shed the negativity and weariness that is often associated with them. Of course in some ways this “risky market gambler” perception was always unfounded, especially considering hedge funds use complex strategies and investment vehicles to hedge away systemic and market risk.Due to their size and unique capital structure, hedge funds were previously allowed to operate outside the stringent oversight of investment regulators, but this has changed over the past decade. While hedge funds continue to abstain from using the comprehensive risk management ‘best-practices’ of other financial services such as banks and large fund managers, they have certainly increased their use of risk management policies. These processes have evolved to monitor not only how their range of investments mitigate inherent market risk for their investors, but also how they conduct their business in general.The organizational risk philosophy at any particular hedge fund typically reflects the interest-level and commitment of that fund’s top traders and officials. The greater these managers believe in not chasing greater return at the expense of risk compliance, the stronger the fund’s risk policy is embedded throughout the entire fund’s other personnel. Many hedge funds now employ a Chief Risk Officer and have doubled their expenditures on risk management processes and risk compliance. They are increasingly seeking individuals who have obtained at least one risk management certification, focusing on credit and financial risk. These changes are the result of not only clearer minds within the hedge fund management community, but also from changing investor expectations. While hedge fund have always used complex quantitative risk management models to quell investor fears, most managers will tell you that in the past few investors know, or cared to know, how they worked. While this sentiment has not dramatically changed during these past few months, there are changing expectations from investors, especially large institutional money managers, in regards to transparency, risk analysis processes, and how business is conducted. Fund managers typically benefit from long investment time-horizons and leeway from their investors, but even traditionally ‘sticky’ investors are demonstrating a willingness to pull assets out of hedge funds if managers do not comply with the changing risk expectations.As a consequence of the 2008 financial upheaval the fund community has witnesses the creation of a series of private oversight groups, such as the ‘Hedge Fund Standards Board’. These self-regulatory bodies are creating industry benchmarks and best-practices in risk management, and from which the community can develop their own risk policies.Hedge funds of all sizes have developed and incorporated risk management policies into their operational and trading strategies. These processes include limits on acceptable losses per trader, controls and limits on the types of investments made, and formal communication and internal policing procedures. These funds offer limited transparency on how they conduct business to anyone outside their inner circle of investors, and thus individual firms are expected to internally police themselves. An predominant precursor of risk in this business is the overuse of leverage, and risk management in this area has become a hot-button issue within the fund community. Many fund managers use borrowed money (funds borrowed against the assets provided by their investors) to maximize the return on their positions, and achieve the above-market gains the industry is famous for. However, this practice leaves the firm and its investors assets exposed to unforeseen market risks. The majority of funds now have risk assessment policies in place that monitor their liabilities-to-assets ratios and prevent individual traders from exceeding leverage limits.Due diligence in many aspects of the hedge fund business has increased since the 2008 financial crisis. Fund managers are now acutely mindful of their brokerage trading connections, as well as the structure of asset-custody with transaction partners. Since the 2008 financial crisis hedge funds have learned the hard way that counter-party risks certainly do exist in the financial services sector, and the domino effect resulting from the collapse of Lehman Brothers demonstrated that even the best and brightest can be left exposed.

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Five Greatest Myths About Food, Health And Fitness Busted

There have been countless suggestions and theories regarding health and fitness over the centuries. In fact health and fitness is the only topic where so many contradictions exist at the same time. Every few years, a new diet system or exercise regime is introduced to the world and it quickly becomes the fad only to be thwarted by experts after sometime. But during their short-lived glory these fitness fads give birth to lots of false beliefs and information. This article will try to clear up some of the confusions and myths so that people around the globe can develop healthy eating and living habits and stop repeating ineffective or dangerous fitness routines.1) Packaged Fruit Juices Are Good For HealthWhen bottled or packaged fruit juices were first introduced to the commercial market, people immediately became big fans of these beverages. Eating fruit is a healthy habit but people become impatient very quickly when they have to buy, wash, peel and juice each fruit before getting the nutrients inside their body. The bottled juice was the perfect solution for them. Now-a-days, people believe that gulping down a bottle of Real Grape juice is the quickest and best way to make up for their otherwise unhealthy lifestyles. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Yes, there is no harm in drinking these juices but there are hardly any benefits either.The manufacturers extract a large volume of juice from the fruits and store them in tanks. This stored juice is then packed and sold throughout the year. This is the reason you can easily find orange juice during summer and Pineapple juice during fall. All the Oxygen from the stored juice is taken out to keep it fresh for months. But as the Oxygen is sucked out, almost all nutrients, vitamins and minerals of the juice are lost as well. So next time you feel like grabbing a bottle of juice, buy some fresh fruits instead. That will give you a lot more benefits at a fraction of the cost.2) Crash Diet Is Great For Losing Weight QuicklyNo matter how much the fitness experts try to preach otherwise, there are still a lot of people who believe that the best way to shed off extra pounds is to go on random diets. Yes these crash diets can help in shorter term but cause much more damage to the digestive system and the body in the longer run. When people eat very less for a month or two, they lose some weight pretty quickly but their body becomes increasingly weak from the lack of electrolytes, vitamins and other nutrients. A month or so in the crash diet, most people often feel tired, dizzy and weak.A greater danger of crash diet is weight gain instead of weight loss. Our body has several defense mechanisms that trigger under different circumstances. When you are eating very less each day, your body can mistake it for famine. It then stores almost all the calorie from the ingested food and spends very less for daily activities. Once this cycle sets in, you will be gaining weight instead of losing. A well planned diet with lots of vegetables and fruits is still the best way to lose fat.3) Certain Fruits Can Give You A Cold If Ingested At NightSome people believe that certain fruits are cold in nature and they can give a person cold or flu if eaten during night. Banana, Sweet Lime, Pineapple and Apple are considered the main culprits behind this phenomena. This theory, however, is absolutely wrong. Cold and flu are caused by viruses and the viruses can spread from anywhere. Coldness of these fruits have nothing do with you catching cold. So next time you feel like grabbing an apple after dinner, do so happily.4) Gluten Free Foods Give More EnergyYes, they do. But only to the people who are Gluten intolerant or suffering from Celiac disease. These people can feel fatigued, tired and sick after eating food that contains Gluten. Once they start ingesting Gluten free food, they feel more energetic and vivacious in all aspects of life. The best example of this phenomenon is tennis star Novac Djokovic. After he started his Gluten free diet, his game improved manifolds and today he is one of the top four tennis players of the world.But for regular people, Gluten free food offers no incentives at all. They might feel more energy after eating Gluten free food but the reason for that is more mental than physical. Also these special diets cost much more than regular food. So before you go munch on Gluten free food, get yourself checked for Gluten intolerance. If you are not Gluten intolerant, stick to your regular diet.5) You Can Eat As Much As You Want As Long As You Exercise RegularlyThis is true to a very small extent. If you are eating a cheese sandwich and expecting your workouts will cancel out the extra calories, it probably would. But if you are ingesting too much carbohydrate and fat, then your exercise routine may not be enough to shed off the calories unless you exercise like professional athletes. Getting calorie inside the body is much easier than driving it off. So do not set any wrong expectations.I sincerely hope that these tips will help bust some long-lasting myths about food and diets. There are tons more that can be written on this topic but that is for another article.