Corporate manager have been touting their enterprise risk management (ERM) systems for years, but behind the scenes, many risk managers have been echoing the late Rodney Dangerfield, complaining that they "can't get no respect." Now some, like David Andrukonis, the former chief risk officer at troubled Freddie Mac who reportedly warned senior management about risky loans as early as 2004 only to be ignored, are getting to say "I told you so." They may even get some respect.

Judging by a pair of reports on how well ERM systems helped companies and banks avoid the brunt of the financial crisis this year–one by international regulatory agencies and the other by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)–that day may come sooner rather than later.

The two studies agree that having an ERM system can be a lifesaver in troubled times, but only if it gets senior management's respect–and only if it earns that respect by rigorously re-evaluating and monitoring risk exposure.

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