What a world! In just the last few months, businesses across the globe have been shaken by a series of unprecedented events, many of which reverberated to the bottom line. For corporate risk managers, whose job is to identify the value-killer risks to their organizations' operations, financial soundness, people and strategy, discerning such events and devising ways to soften the blows is tantamount to predicting next month's weather in Florida.

Indeed, few risk managers anticipated the extent of the tragic events in Japan that are sure to disrupt their organizations in ways that only now are beginning to be understood. The same applies to spreading political instability in the Middle East. Earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and New Zealand; huge snowstorms in the Northeastern United States; a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; a global financial crisis and consequent recession; swine flu pandemic; and a horde of recent hackings against major companies are just a few of the other out-of-the-blue events ripping carefully prepared strategic plans in half. Add widespread fears of reputational disasters caused by WikiLeaks-type revelations, rising inflation in China and India, and the numbing effect of regulation-after-regulation-after-regulation, and the job of the risk manager becomes one for the more resilient among us.

Treasury & Risk reached out to several thick-skinned risk managers to determine what they see as their top five concerns in 2011. Surprisingly, there was more agreement about the top five than there was disagreement. While many readers may affirm their choices, others may dispute them, wondering why no one selected the risk of an asteroid hitting Wall Street. That said, we decided The Sky Is Falling made for a darn good headline anyway.

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