Pros and Cons of Risk Management

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1.0 The pros of risk management

Maintaining competitiveness

Adverse changes in interest and exchange rates may reduce the competitive position of a company against those with lower levels of gearing or smaller exchange rate exposures, or compared with companies that have taken the precaution of hedging against rate changes.

Reduction of bankruptcy risk

Adverse movements in interest and exchange rates may jeopardize the continued operation of a company. A classic example is that of a highly geared company with a large proportion of floating rate debt being forced into bankruptcy due to an increase in interest rate.

Restructuring of capital obligations

Interest rate hedging instruments can be used to restructure a company’s capital profile by altering the nature of its interest obligations, thereby avoiding the repayment of existing debt or the issuing of new securities. In consequence, considerable savings can be made in respect of call fees and issue costs. At the same time, a wider range of financial sources becomes available to the company.

Reducing in the volatility of corporate cash flows

Reducing the volatility of net cash flows may increase the market rating of the company and will facilitate the process of forward planning.

2.0 The cons of risk management

The complicated nature of hedging instruments

A combination of unfamiliarity with the range of hedging methods available and a belief by potential users that such methods are complex may result in treasurers choosing not to hedge exchange and interest rate exposures.

The risks associated with using external hedging instruments

The perceived risk associated with in using hedging instruments can sometimes dissuade potential users. Instead of providing protection from steeply increasing interest rates, the transactions turned out to be highly speculative bets.

The complicated tax and financial reporting treatments of derivatives

The accounting and tax...
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