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Interdisciplinary advances on behavioural theories of financial risk-taking: Innovative insights from a video-ethnography of live trading in global reinsurance markets

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Innovative model for understanding risk trading and global markets

Most of the largest reinsurance companies are based in Europe, accounting for about one third of the world market share. An EU initiative has provided better insight into trading practices and risks in order to make Europe an authority in the sector.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Europe is a major player in global reinsurance, but it is not necessarily recognised as the foremost authority whose expertise is sought after. To help achieve this, the EU-funded ETHNOGRAPHYOFRISK (Interdisciplinary advances on behavioural theories of financial risk-taking: Innovative insights from a video-ethnography of live trading in global reinsurance markets) project sought to investigate how people relate to tools and technologies in reinsurance trading, and the implications of such interactions for financial risk-taking and assessment. Several peer-reviewed papers were published in high-profile American and European industry and academic journals and drew heavily on the fields of economic sociology, technology and ethnography. Additional papers on how different risk trading procedures influence financial markets around the world were also published. To complement the papers, a book was published with a leading university press and was primarily aimed at academics and practitioners interested in financial markets, risk, insurance, reinsurance and the technologies associated with risk trading. As the first worldwide ethnography of the finance industry, it looks into the custom of trading risk in the reinsurance industry worldwide by taking a novel approach to the coordination and functioning of global markets. Four academic workshops attracted leading scholars to study existing theoretical standpoints and emerging research on different fields related to the research focus. The objective was to find links among approaches and call attention to future research domains. A set of tools and frameworks were developed to diagnose industry change and enable companies to act. These outcomes also revealed the possible dangers of systemic risk. Research findings were presented at various key industry events, and at European and North American universities. Seven training masterclasses and two professional workshops supplemented industry reports, media articles, conference presentations and talks. ETHNOGRAPHYOFRISK introduced novel behavioural approaches to financial risk management, and is well on its way to producing European thought leaders among major global reinsurers.


Risk trading, reinsurance, financial risk-taking, ethnography, live trading

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