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Macho risk-taking caused financial crisis, research suggests

Eighty-three percent of executives asked believe failure to understand the
risk that many financial institutions were running [in taking and encouraging]
excessive risk has been fuelled by the macho culture of many City firms. Almost
half believe that placing more women in senior roles could have prevented some
of the excesses at major financial services firms and most respondents believe
these firms are dominated by men.

Fifty-five percent of respondents thought women were more likely than men to
apply common sense to “apparently complicated situations”. Aziz polled 217
business people across the UK ­ focusing on mid-ranking to senior level managers
­ and across a range of sectors.

“Many commentators have focused on the need for greater regulation of the
City and for improved systems to control risk,” Professor Khalid Aziz, chairman
of the consultancy, says. “Of equal importance is the culture within those
firms. A culture which encourages the taking of risks which are often without
limit and poorly understood has its own downfall built into it.”

Aziz
Corporation
found 74% of respondents believe that in the recent
bear market, any senior executive advocating caution would be regarded as
lacking competitive drive. The research also found that 80% of female
respondents thought most women who had succeeded at high level in business or
the City had accepted and played along with a masculine culture rather than
challenged it.

“A risk-taking culture was a major factor in driving many financial
institutions to the brink of collapse, and the macho and male-dominated working
environment of City firms lay behind that culture,” Professor Aziz says.

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