The Governance of strategic risks in systemically important banks

Patrick McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among the many market weaknesses highlighted by the global financial crisis, the widespread failures of corporate governance and risk management were identified by official inquiries as being critical. As a result, banking regulatory bodies have responded, proposing long overdue principles of good corporate governance, in particular tightening up on the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors. Strategic risk is arguably, because of the immense uncertainty in the global economy, the greatest risk facing any firm, most especially systemically important banks (SIB); however, strategic risk management, or the management of the risks to a firm's long-term corporate strategy, is not a well-developed discipline. The lack of maturity in the discipline stems, in part, from a fundamental conflict of interest in that the board and management ‘own’ a firm's strategy but they are at the same time also responsible for implementing the strategy and managing the strategic risks. There is no independent review of the strategic risks taken by many firms, which constitutes a serious deficiency in corporate governance. This paper considers the governance of strategic risks, using Lehman Brothers as a case study, identifying areas of deficiency of governance of strategic risk in practice. The paper also proposes some potential solutions to help address such governance problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-142
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of risk management in financial institutions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • corporate governance
  • strategy
  • strategic risk
  • risk appetite
  • systemically important banks
  • Lehman


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