The Valor Blog.
Investment News and Views, Direct from Our Team.

Aviation Safety

For some bizarre reason, the finance world likes to make all in bets. They use leverage to back themselves into corners and reduce their possible outcomes.

Aviation has developed over the years to avoid this kind of practice. In every commercial aircraft, multiple systems are in place to compensate for the unknowns. There is redundancy.

Warren Buffett talks about risk in a similar way to Aviation safety risk. He always looks to have a minimum amount of cash on hand to handle any unknowns.

As an international pilot, I spend numerous hours per year in a simulator working through different scenarios that could affect an aircraft. Luckily most of these scenarios will never happen in my career, however this does not mean we are not trained to be ready for them if they happen.

Whilst the system of the world of finance may be slightly more complex than the systems in an airplane, the strategies to prepare for the unknowns should be similar. Sadly, they are not.

Whilst our Reserve Bank and political leaders might attempt to con us that we do not have a housing bubble and China is not going to have a hard landing, they should not be complacent in their modeling of the effects of an extended slowdown in China and subsequent housing slowdown may create. This is their job. Not to sit in their big leather chairs and ignore the risks, but to think of all the risks and attempt to build in redundancy into the systems.

They may be doing this in the background without our knowledge, however housing busts and the surprise they caused to politicians and economists in the USA and around the globe have proven that this is unlikely.

The work of economists and finance professionals in todays world is not much better than the effectiveness of 18th century doctors and the technique of bloodletting to cure disease.