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If CFOs were to be asked what keeps them awake at night, their answer is likely to be “unexpected losses”. There can be no worse experience for a CFO than to have to explain to the CEO, the board, the media and, in extreme cases, in congressional or similar governmental hearings, why he or she only first became aware of the accumulation of excessive exposures to risk after those exposures had turned into losses.The concern is evidently genuine given the numerous instances in the recent past of CFOs being confronted with precisely these circumstances.

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