Monday, 28 April 2008

The Fantods of Risk: Essays on Risk Management

The Fantods of Risk: Essays on Risk Management
By H.Felix Kloman, published by Xlibris. Available from or Amazon for $20

Roger Miller,a previous Executive Director of AIRMIC and no slouch with the apposite phrase, once described Felix Kloman to me as having a“luminous mind”.

The range and reading of that mind are on display in Kloman’s latest collection of essays on risk management,esoterically entitled “the Fantods of Risk”. Fantods are either a state of extreme nervousness(the fidgets) or a sudden outpouring of rage ( a fit).

Kloman ,I guess, is more likely to take to his keyboard in a fit ,one perhaps brought on by extreme nervousness as he contemplates the risks facing us and our general incomprehension. He has the seriousness of an Old Testament Prophet, laying down the law ( he likes lists),citing other scriptures including the saintly Peter Bernstein and the blessed John Adams, both known to members for their presentations at the AIRMIC Conference. Kloman is remarkable amongst the IRM membership for being struck dumb when giving their Lecture, an event which he describes in the book, graciously thanking the crisis management of the IRM and the hosts Willis.

He has read very widely and across many disciplines. He is one of the few writers on Risk Management from an insurance background who has become an active member of GARP, the Global Association of Risk Professionals, the financial risk managers who have recently been weighed in the balances and found wanting in their knowledge of risk. He chastises the improvident and the impertinent- including AIRMIC on two occasions in this book for the Partnership agreements which Kloman considers an outrageous conflict of interest – I disagree with him, but I can see why he might get a touch of the fantods when considering the situation from Maine or Connecticut, where he is in residence.

We need more prophets like Kloman, more such writers and thinkers ( not always the same thing of course) and his essays are always illuminating, as Roger said he found the man. They are full of wonderful insights, irritations, the odd haiku, a dash of Monty Python and serious analysis . He makes the study of risk an essential and central activity ,not some obscure calling. He has striven mightily to have the word “risk” accepted as having an upside as well as a downside. It makes you realise that if you look hard enough, within a prophet you may often find a poet.


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