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Day of Atonement: Al-Chet for Risk Managers

YomKippurTNToday is Yom Kippur.  It is the Day of Atonement.  The Jewish faith marks this day each year as a day to reflect on our sins and shortcomings we have committed during the past year.  It is a day of personal assessment.  Calling all to examine how we have failed to live a life in conformance to our highest aspirations and ideals.  It is customary to recite an Al-Chet confession prayer.  The Al-Chet is a confession of a persons past year sinful behavior. It is hoped that this admission of sin leads to  reconciliation with the aggrieved and an awareness that helps to establish a pattern of improved behavior in the future.

It is good that we commemorate such a day and use it to a constructive purpose.  After all, how many among us are without sin?  How many of us have achieved a level of perfection that obviates the need to reflect on how we can improve and make amends to those we may have hurt?   To be sure, even the best among us have fallen short of the glory of God.  A Higher Power surely keeps mere mortals rightsized and humble when our egos and perception of ourselves grows too large and burdensome.  The need to keep a strong self will from running riot is critical.  It is particularly dangerous when a person or corporation is unaware and ambivalent to the collateral damage its actions  spawn through the naked pursuit of self interest and ambition. In a sense, God is the ultimate celestial Chief Risk Officer that keeps wanton will in check.

The Day of Atonement is an important day because it is a day of transformation.  It calls for self examination and transformation.  Once we have learned the nature and extent of how our actions and inaction have negatively impacted ourselves and others,  we are called to make amends to set things right.  It is a day that requires considered action to improve ourselves so we can become a positive force for change in the world.

Considering the year that just transpired in the financial services industry, I wonder what an Al-Chet confession for risk managers would include.   We need a strong dose of atonement so we don’t repeat the egregious mistakes we committed last year.

An Al-Chet for Risk Managers:

I was not strong enough to stand up to my boss

I put selfish gain ahead of ethical considerations

I falsified or hid data to conceal results

I failed to be objective

My risk model was too subjective

I ignored warning signs

I was in over my head

I did not understand all the risk factors

I failed to get an outside opinion

I was beholden to monetary gain

I was victim to group think

I placed institutional interest ahead of ethical considerations

I  failed to admit I was wrong

I was not honest with regulators

I was not honest with shareholders

I looked the other way

I failed to act

I conveniently overlooked infractions / irregularities

I made exemptions

I did not understand the depth of the problem

I know there are many more.

Please help me to uncover, understand, make right and overcome.

Shalom

You Tube Music Video:  Aretha Franklin,  I Say a Little Prayer

Risk: compliance, reputation, catastrophic risk, moral hazards

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September 28, 2009 - Posted by | banking, corruption, credit crisis, regulatory, reputation, reputational risk, risk management, sustainability | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. I find this Al-Chet a spiel for your mother, pure schlock, blaming someone else for being a putz. Se shtinkt!I don’t believe it for a second, it was greed built of the backs of the poor. Paigeren zol er!

    Only their mothers should know their shame.

    Shalom

    Comment by Gary Mazz | September 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. Bravo. Oh. If only people would heed these thoughts. Lynn

    Comment by Lynn Glantz | September 29, 2009 | Reply

  3. I simply love this. Well done!

    Comment by Stanley Epstein | October 4, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment Stanley.

      Comment by riskrapper | October 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. Well said. Thanks.

    Trevor Levine
    Riskczar.com

    Comment by riskczar | October 13, 2009 | Reply

    • Dear Risk Czar,

      As the Czar of risk I’m wondering if you have any sins to add to our Al-Chet confession?

      Thanks for your visit.

      Cheers,

      riskrapper

      Comment by riskrapper | October 13, 2009 | Reply


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