We are All Risk Managers Now

It is July 2004. I am standing at a lectern in the lecture hall of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services in Nassau, the capital and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. I am preparing to present a lecture to the directors, senior managers and other representatives of the financial services industry in the Bahamas at a “Breakfast Briefing”. The room is packed, there are well over 100 people in attendance and I am feeling pretty nervous. This is my first “speech” in the Caribbean after all. I am giving the lecture to a large, high-powered audience of finance professionals. The title of the talk is “Basel II and Operational Risk”,1 not the easiest subject matter for anyone to digest over their bacon and eggs at 9.00 o'clock in the morning. Still, I take confidence from the fact that everyone seems to be enjoying their breakfast, I give myself a last pep talk (along the lines of: “Steve, don't screw it up!”) and I begin.

I start by thanking my hosts at the Institute for inviting me to their beautiful island and then extend this thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome on my first visit to the Bahamas. I say that I almost feel at home and give two examples. First, my taxi driver pointed out Sean Connery's villa on the drive from my hotel into Nassau this morning, and I say that it's always nice to hear news about old friends and to know that they are doing so well for themselves. Secondly, I tell them that I am staying on the ...

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