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[经济学人] [2009.12.3]Silo but deadly 致命掩体

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发表于 2010-4-29 04:02 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Banks and information technology
银行与信息技术

Silo but deadly
致命掩体

Dec 3rd 2009
From The Economist print edition

Messy IT systems are a neglected aspect of the financial crisis
混乱的IT系统在金融危机中被忽略


NO INDUSTRY spends more on information technology (IT) than financial services: about $500 billion globally, more than a fifth of the total (see chart). Many of the world’s computers, networking and storage systems live in the huge data centres run by banks. “Banks are essentially technology firms,” says Hugo Banziger, chief risk officer at Deutsche Bank. Yet the role of IT in the crisis is barely discussed.

没有哪个产业在信息技术(IT)上的花费比金融服务业更多——全世界5万亿美元投入,占总投入的五分之一以上(见图表)。世界上有无数的计算机、网络、存储器在银行下属的大型数据中心里工作。“根本来讲,银行就是技术公司。”德意志银行首席风险官雨果班吉乐说道。然而IT行业在危机中扮演的角色却很少被人提及。

It should be. Corporate IT systems—collections of computers, applications and databases—always tend to be messy, but those of banks are particularly bad. They were the first to adopt computers: decades-old mainframes are still in use. Lots of product innovation means new systems, as does merger activity, which has proliferated in the industry in recent years: Citigroup had a notoriously fragmented IT set-up going into the crisis. The need to comply with regulations, and the global presence of big banks, adds complexity.

不该如此,公司IT系统由杂乱无章的电脑、应用程序和数据库组成,而银行IT系统则尤其无序——它们最先采用计算机,因而几十岁高龄的主机至今还在工作着。而无数的产品创新带来了新系统,和收购活动一道,近年来在银行业里遍地开花:花旗银行零碎的IT系统臭名昭著,使其卷入危机中。要遵守规则,又要在大银行林立的全球环境中求生,使情况更加复杂。

The demands of financial markets make matters worse. Hedging positions, trading derivatives and modelling financial products all require highly sophisticated programs that are only really suited to specific asset classes. The code for new financial products has to be developed quickly. Innovation often takes place on Excel spreadsheets on traders’ desktops. “The big task of management is to manage down the number of spreadsheets,” says one risk chief, whose bank creates 1,000 product variations a year.

金融市场的需求使事情变得更糟,套期保值、贸易衍生品、模式化金融产品都需要尖端程序,而尖端程序只适合特定资产部门。程序必须飞速发展才能适应新的金融产品的需要,因此商人电脑上的Excel常换常新。“控制表单数量是管理中的重要任务。”一位风险官这样说道,他的银行每年要推出上千种不同产品。

As a result, many banks have huge problems with data quality. The same types of asset are often defined differently in different programs. Numbers do not always add up. Managers from different departments do not trust each other’s figures. Finding one’s way through all these systems is detective work, says a former IT manager at a big British bank. “And sometimes the trail would go cold.”

因此,很多银行在数据处理质量上存在巨大问题,不同的软件对相同种类的资产定义不同。团结也未必就是力量,因为不同部门的管理者往往对对方的数据并不信任。依靠这些系统解决问题堪比刑侦工作,一家英国大银行前IT管理者说道,“而有时可能一无所获。”

This fragmented IT landscape made it exceedingly difficult to track a bank’s overall risk exposure before and during the crisis. Mainly as a result of the Basel 2 capital accords, many banks had put in new systems to calculate their aggregate exposure. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) spent more than $100m to comply with Basel 2. But in most cases the aggregate risk was only calculated once a day and some figures were not worth the pixels they were made of.

支离破碎的IT业让预测银行在危机前和危机中承受的风险困难重重。新巴塞尔资本协定使得很多银行采用新系统计算总和暴露值。苏格兰皇家银行为遵守新巴塞尔协定花费了超过1亿美元,但大多数情况下总和风险一天只计算一次,且很多数据作用甚微。

During the turmoil many banks had to carry out big fact-finding missions to see where they stood. “Answering such questions as ‘What is my exposure to this counterparty?’ should take minutes. But it often took hours, if not days,” says Peyman Mestchian, managing partner at Chartis Research, an advisory firm. Insiders at Lehman Brothers say its European arm lacked an integrated picture of its risk position in the days running up to its demise.

金融风暴让很多银行都不得不展开深入细致的调查来了解他们所处的情况。“要回答‘我对对手的暴露值是多少?’只需要几分钟的时间,但实际操作中要花费几个小时,甚至几天。”咨询企业Chartis调查公司的经营合伙人Peyman Mestchian这样说道。雷曼兄弟内部人士称,濒于破产的时候,其欧洲分部对公司面临的风险并没有总体认识。

Whether the financial industry would have hit the brakes if it had had digital dashboards showing banks’ overall exposures in real time is a moot point. Some managers might not have even looked. And better IT would have done little to counteract the bigger forces behind the crisis, such as global economic imbalances.

大家争论的焦点是,是否在实际操作中有了数字化仪表盘显示银行总体风险,就能让金融行业及时刹车。有些管理者甚至不参考数据,而升级的IT行业也不能抵御危机背后的巨大力量——比如全球经济发展不平衡。

Illustration by S. Kambayashi

Yet most in the industry agree that its woeful IT systems have, in Mr Banziger’s words, “exacerbated激化 the crisis”. The industry spent billions on being able to trade faster and make more money, but not nearly enough on creating the necessary transparency. “Banks had lots of tools to create leverage, but not many to manage risk,” says Roger Portnoy of Daylight Venture Partners, a venture-capital firm that invests in risk-management start-ups.

然而,业内普遍认为,IT系统,用Banziger的话来说“激化了危机”。全行业花费数十亿来保证盈利提量提速,但却在保障合理透明度上花费甚少。“银行在制造杠杆上妙计百出,管理风险却无能为力。”日光投创的Roger Portnoy这样说道,该公司是一家投资初创公司风险管理的风投公司。

Technology may have contributed to the crisis in other ways. IT systems have led to a “deskilling of the risk process”, says Steve O’Sullivan of Accenture, a consultancy. At one end of the credit chain, bank employees were not given the proper incentives to review on-screen loan-application forms (a big British bank once had a surprising number of “astronauts” applying for loans because the job description was the first choice on a pull-down menu, says a former employee). At the other end, computer-generated risk numbers gave executives a false sense of security.

IT技术可能还在其他方面助长了金融危机,埃森哲公司的顾问Steve O’Sullivan认为,它导致了“降低了风险过程中的技术水平”。在信贷链的一端,银行并没有鼓励员工仔细审查显示器上贷款申请表(据一位曾就职与一家英国银行的职员称,曾经有大量的“航天员”申请贷款,因为在降序排列的菜单中,工作描述排在首位)。而在另一端,计算机显示的风险数据使主管人员不能如实了解其是否安全。

Others think that IT has played an even more fundamental role in the crisis. Because things are so interconnected, largely thanks to technology, a problem in one part of the system can quickly lead to problems elsewhere. The global financial markets have evolved over the years into an inherently unstable network, says Till Guldimann, a strategist at SunGard, a software and IT services firm. The rapid unwinding of positions by ultra-fast quantitative-trading programs at the start of the credit crunch in August 2007 is one example of this cascading effect.

其他人认为,IT产业在推动金融危机中发挥了更为重要的作用,信息技术是世界紧密相连的主要原因,因此一个部分的问题会迅速牵涉其他部分。软件与信息技术服务公司金仕达战略分析师Till Guldimann称,数年的发展已使全球金融市场变成一个内部极不稳定的网络。07年八月信贷崩溃初期,由超高速定量交易程序引发的崩溃快速传播,就是这种串联效应的例子。

Have chastened bankers learned their lesson? Some are now spending a lot of money on building integrated systems of the kind that a few banks, such as Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, had in place before the crisis. Deutsche does not dump all its trading information into what is called a “data warehouse” and then painstakingly sift through it when need arises. Instead, the firm has developed a system of “feeds” that give it access to information in almost real-time.

风雨过后,银行家们学乖了么?有一些正投入大笔银子构建联机系统,这些系统是德意志银行、摩根大通银行、高盛等少数银行危机前就建好的。德意志银行不会把所有贸易信息一股脑的扔进所谓“数据仓库”,用的时候再费尽心血把它们筛出来,而是创建一种叫做“进料”的系统,迅速提供信息。

But many other banks are still in firefighting mode, says Mr Mestchian. Much of the money invested in IT still goes into making things faster rather than more transparent. And there is a question-mark over whether the biggest banks will ever really be able to get their systems in order. Many banks have become too complex to be managed properly, says Glenn Woodcock, a director at Andromeda Capital Management and a former head of credit-risk infrastructure at RBS. IT alone cannot fix that problem for them.

Mestchian先生说,很多其他银行依然处于亡羊补牢模式。IT领域的投资方向还主要针对提速,而非增加透明度。而大银行是否能恢复系统秩序依然是个未解之谜。很多银行结构太过冗杂,难以管理——Andromeda资产管理主管,前苏格兰皇家银行信贷风险基础设施长官Glenn Woodcock说道。IT产业难以独自解决它们的问题。
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:12 | 显示全部楼层
Basel II Accord
Basel II is the second of the Basel Accords, which are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision巴塞尔银行监督委员会. The purpose of Basel II, which was initially published in June 2004, is to create an international standard that banking regulators can use when creating regulations about how much capital banks need to put aside to guard against the types of financial and operational risks banks face. Advocates of Basel II believe that such an international standard can help protect the international financial system from the types of problems that might arise should a major bank or a series of banks collapse. In practice, Basel II attempts to accomplish this by setting up rigorous risk and capital management requirements designed to ensure that a bank holds capital reserves appropriate to the risk the bank exposes itself to through its lending and investment practices. Generally speaking, these rules mean that the greater risk to which the bank is exposed, the greater the amount of capital the bank needs to hold to safeguard its solvency and overall economic stability.
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:22 | 显示全部楼层
首席风险执行官负责化解风险
新快报讯 据《北京商报》报道,按照保监会的要求,今后保险资产管理公司将设立首席风险管理执行官,专门负责化解保险资金管理的风险。11月7日,中国保监会正式发布《关于加强保险资金风险管理的意见》(以下简称《意见》),这标志着保险资金管理开始迈向全面风险管理时期。
引入首席风险管理执行官制度是《意见》的一项重要内容。保监会要求保险资产管理公司设立首席风险管理执行官,并对其职权范围作了规定。保监会负责人指出,首席风险管理执行官属于保险公司的高管层,类似于现在资产管理公司的监事长。其职责是:要定期向董事会报告有关情况,及时防范和化解重大风险,发现重大风险隐患应及时向保险监管机构报告。首席风险管理执行官不得兼任首席投资管理执行官或主管投资管理的高级管理人员。首席风险管理执行官的聘任、更换应向中国保监会报告。
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