Wind the clock back two years and the world was a very different place: Banks were money-making machines, still basking in the glow of their latest round of record profits and protected by the world's smartest and best-equipped risk managers. Today, the banks' Midas touch has deserted them and the same risk managers who were once thought to be bullet-proof are now seen as ineffectual, weak, a waste of money. For risk managers in other industries, the banking crisis offers lessons aplenty. It could also lead to a credibility crisis.

"What I've been hearing is this 30,000-foot criticism of risk–the idea that banks created enterprise risk management and look where it got them; it doesn't work," says Mark Beasley, the Deloitte professor of enterprise risk management and director of the ERM initiative at North Carolina State University's College of Management "That's not my view, but people are becoming quickly and naively critical of risk management and the way we manage risk."

Across the Atlantic, the story is the same. Paul Hopkin, London-based technical director with the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC) says the banking industry's failures may have undermined risk management: "We don't see a falling off in membership or in member activity, but I think when the news is constantly saying, 'Risk is bad, risk management is rubbish,' that drip, drip message will inevitably make people more critical of risk management and what it can deliver."

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