Rethinking risk control

by

Investors and managers ignore the obvious, and the extreme, at their peril

Two years ago, when a $2 billion hedge fund hired its first-ever risk management chief, the firm's portfolio manager was pretty explicit in framing the job description. "If I ever overrule you," he wrote in the new hire's contract, "and you do not call me on it and stop me, you're fired." At the vast majority of hedge funds, one can hardly hope to find so explicit a commitment to independent risk control. If one had been in place at Amaranth Advisors, might