Join us for the June 20th Executive Education Session

Growth through M&A is a high stakes game – every merger can have an impact on both the risk exposures and risk management strategies of the combined entity. Whether your company is seasoned in these types of transactions or embarking on its first acquisition, risk management plays a crucial role in providing the right risk due diligence, risk transfer solutions, as well as providing insight into the strategy, objectives, valuation, funding, costs, and integration.

Getting it right matters – there are large sums of money, time, and resources wrapped into each organizational change.

Join The Risk Institute and our experts from academia and industry for a lively discussion about the delicate balance of risk and reward in M&A.  Guest speakers include:

Isil Erel, PhD
Professor of Finance, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

Elizabeth A. Mily
Managing Director, Global Healthcare Group, Investment Banking Division, Barclays

Mike Repoli
Mergers & Acquisitions, Gallagher Bassett

Gavin Waugh

Vice President and Treasurer, The Wendy’s Company


This event has been rescheduled for Fall 2017. More details to come.

The Art of Balancing Your Eggs Between Baskets

Strategizing your portfolio of real options for the win.

What factors make your real options portfolio valuable? How do you analyze the nature of the interactions among real options and their effects on portfolio value? Ultimately, how can your firm be most strategic in managing this in your industry’s unique market?

To begin, firms must consider growth and switching options in developing a portfolio of strategic options. Growth and switching options represent the trade-off between flexibility and commitment, according to the study, “Managing a Portfolio of Real Options” co-authored by Ohio State researcher Jaideep Anand and with researchers Raffaele Oriani in Italy and Roberto S. Vassolo in Argentina.   While growth options relate to early commitment in growth opportunities, switching options give firms essential forms of flexibility to handle different sources of uncertainty. Too much commitment could create vulnerability; too little could hinder competitive advantages.

So how do you determine the right balance for your unique market? Let’s consider the sources of uncertainty within growth opportunities and switching opportunities. Some sources generate growth opportunities while others might induce switching opportunities, according to the study. For example, when market demand is the main source of uncertainty, growth opportunities may dominate the strategic decision. These elements are applied to different strategic situations of technological and market uncertainty. Managers must consider what is unique about their portfolio and how they can incorporate that when assessing its value. They must first understand how market and technological uncertainty can have different effects on the value of switching and growth options.

When the market has inconsistencies between demand and the need for new products, it affects the market size and ultimately, sales. In this case, growth options could limit firms’ losses to their initial investments. However, potential gains from future growth opportunities are unlimited.

When the market has technological uncertainty, firms must choose the “right” technology. Here firms can apply switching options that allow them to hedge against the risk of being locked out of the market because they have not invested in the right technology.

Based on your industry’s unique market and focusing on the opportunities available, these are important considerations to keep in mind in a world of quickly advancing technologies and ever shifting markets. To dig deeper into this topic, view the original research and its translation here.

 

Four things you need to be doing with risk capital

Photo curtesy of iStock

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Risk capital gives financial firms the cushion they need to protect liability holders from unexpected losses. Simply put, risk capital is your home-run money — funds that are invested in high-risk, high-reward investments. It reduces debt overhang that could limit borrowing capability and makes the costs of bankruptcy or firm distress more remote.

But there’s a catch — adding risk capital can only benefit firms’ balance sheets if it is allocated efficiently, according to a study co-authored by Isil Erel, Academic Director of the Risk Institute and Distinguished Professor of Finance at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

The study, “A Theory of Risk Capital”, was co-written by Erel, Stewart C. Myers at MIT Sloan School of Management, and James A. Read Jr. at The Brattle Group Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. In the study, Erel, Myers, and Read focus on diversified firms with safe and risky businesses in their portfolios. The firms have customers and counterparties who are not willing to bear significant default risk.

Know if your company’s risk capital really working for you — here are the four things you need to know and be doing.

1) Risk capital must be allocated

  1. To assess profitability,
  2. To make investment decisions,
  3. To price products and services, and
  4. To set compensation.

2) Efficient risk capital allocation has to do two things: 1) there can be no risk that changes in the business portfolio that would affect the credit quality of the firm’s liabilities, and 2) firms have to avoid shifting risk capital from one business to another.

3) Of course, your business is doing all that already, so what do you really need to focus on? Your marginal default rate in order to allocate the risk capital.

The marginal default rate is the derivative of the value of the firm’s option to default with respect to a change in the business size, according to the study. The required amount of capital depends on the target credit quality and on the risk of the business portfolio. Businesses with the largest marginal default values should receive the most risk capital and be charged most of the costs of the risk capital.

4) Risk capital can help expand your business, but keep in mind that riskier businesses need free passes to expand, which will increase the default risk. These risky businesses might also operate at a lower credit quality.

To mitigate the effects on credit quality of the overall business, businesses shouldn’t use risk capital that’s fixed in the short term.

Remember, any asset or activity with uncertain returns requires risk capital. By focusing on marginal default values, credit quality, and risk within the business portfolio, firms can us risk capital efficiently to help improve their bottom lines.

If you want to dig deeper into this (and other) of the latest risk research, the full paper and accompanying translation are available on our website.

Show me the money

Are private equity investments worth the risk?

investment-trees

Question: Do private equity returns and diversification benefits adequately compensate investors?

This is the debate swirling in investment circles, and it’s the question that researchers Berk A. Sensoy from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and Nicholas P.B. Bollen from Vanderbilt University work toward answering in their paper, “How much for a haircut? Illiquidity, secondary markets and the value of private equity.”

Private equity investments have illiquidity and market risks related to the timing of capital flows and require management fees that are usually two percent of investors’ capital commitments per year, plus performance fees typically equal to 20 percent of the profits. According to the researchers, the returns and diversification benefits do justify the risks and costs borne by investors.

The drawback is that secondary sales could result in discounts from fund net asset values of as much as 50 percent during financial crises. During other times, the discount could be 20 percent. Despite these discounts, the study finds that the historical performance and diversification benefits of venture capital and buyout funds, the main types of private equity firms, are sufficient to justify their risks and fees. For example, buyout funds have on average outperformed public equities by about 3% per year.

So what percentage of your portfolio should you allocate to private equity?

If you’re an extremely conservative investor with an extreme risk aversion, the researchers recommend that you should allocate no more than about 10 percent of your portfolio to private equity investments.

If you’re an investor with low to moderate risk aversion, you can comfortably allocate up to 40 percent of your portfolio.

To set yourself up for the best chance of success, the study notes that you should be particularly willing to take the risk of private equity investments if you can access average-performing funds.

While this study will certainly not end the debate, Bollen and Sensoy’s study shows that the returns and diversification benefits of private equity appear sufficient to compensate for the risks and costs for limited partners who have a broad range of risk preferences at portfolio allocations typically observed in practice. The findings offer limited partners a guide in making their portfolio allocation decisions.

If you want to dig deeper into this (and other) of the latest risk research, the full paper and accompanying translation are available on our website.

 

Brexit’s Anticipated Impact on U.S. Middle Market Businesses

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

 


Despite the clear vote by British voters to exit the EU, the impact of the vote on both Britain and the European Union is anything but clear. Policymakers are now required to focus attention on some very uncertain and unsettling repercussions.

In what is very likely the earliest data anywhere about the impact of Brexit on U.S. companies, the National Center for the Middle Market at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, has just released the results of its survey studying the impact of Brexit on companies within the Middle Market segment. The results have indicated the following:

  • About half of middle market companies say Brexit would have little or no impact on their business.
  • The other half, however feel that they will be impacted. One in eight companies foresee an extremely significant impact.
  • Manufacturers will be impacted more than the market as a whole.
  • Approximately 28% of Middle Market companies say they will reduce investment in the U.K., while approximately 21% will reduce investment elsewhere in the E.U.
  • Much of that money will remain in the U.S., with approximately 26% say they will increase investment in the homeland. Likewise, Asia may also be a direct beneficiary of investment.
  • The study also revealed that an impact on sales and procurement may be seen. Companies have indicated that they will purchase less from Britain given the reduction in British Sterling.
  • An expectation also may exist that increased “red tape” may be an indirect result of Brexit. Questions remain about any changes to customs, tariff on imported goods, quota restrictions, etc., as well as overall changes in import/export trade regulation in the short and longer term.

The complete study can be found at https://go.osu.edu/BrexitMidMarket.

NCMM Brexit Survey 2016

We are appreciative of our partnership with the National Center for the Middle Market and for their foresight and timing in issuing this informative finding.


The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business brings together practitioners and researchers to engage in risk-centered conversations and to exchange ideas and strategies on integrated risk management.  Visit The Risk Institute website for more information about how you can join the conversation about enterprise risk management.