What Brexit Teaches OpRisk

Ariane Chapelle

Like others, my main emotion was one of incredulity on the morning of June 24. The result of the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union was a surprise for most and terrible news for many. In common with The Economist, I believe there is “much to lament” over this outcome, as well as the whole process that led to it. Besides the astonishment and political storm we are still very much feeling today, Brexit has taught me three lessons in risk management that I would like to share.


I never thought Brexit would happen. I trusted the bookies, distrusted the opinion polls and was convinced the old populist arguments for protectionism and curbs on immigration would seduce only a minority. I wasn’t alone in being wrong, but I was wrong. I was so convinced of a ‘remain’ vote that I didn’t prepare for it.

One of the companies I work with, a French financial firm, felt similarly. Its risk management department prepared nothing except a vague internal note on Brexit – and only then because it was encouraged to do so by the European Banking Authority. On the morning of June 24 it appeared unprepared, with no contingent communication

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