As financial turmoil in Europe threatened to overwhelm the region’s banks last November, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King arranged conference calls with the world’s top central bankers to decide what steps to take.
The 21st century began with a major correction on Wall Street and a long period of volatility in global financial markets. The VIX, sometimes called the fear index, soared, and congressional hearings explored why major investment banks couldn’t better hedge market risk. Traders sought reprieve, and risk management became elevated from prudent practice to a tool for financial survival.
On Jan. 2, Jim Clark , a founder of such technology icons as Netscape Communications Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc. , was at home in Palm Beach, Florida, when he got an e-mail from an executive at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ’s private wealth management division. Goldman was offering Clark a chance to invest in the closely held social-networking company Facebook Inc. The deal -- through a fund overseen by Goldman Sachs Asset Management -- was being offered to other Goldman investors at the same time, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its March issue.
Stanley Fischer in December 2008 connected the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bernard Madoff’s ruinous $20 billion fraud to a false sense of security that brought the world to the brink of depression. Three years later, he rues the same creeping complacency.