6 Sep 2010

Distinction needed between risk and uncertainty - RBA

7:01 am on 6 September 2010

The Reserve Bank of Australia is critical of those who rely too much on economic models.

In a recent speech on the financial crisis, Deputy Governor Guy Debelle said investors and financial institutions need to make a distinction between risk and uncertainty.

A contributing factor to the financial crisis, Mr Debelle said, is that banks forgot that while risk can be measured, uncertainty cannot.

And no matter how sophisticated your risk modelling system, there was always the chance of so-called 'fat-tailed' events blowing your assumptions away.

The answer, he said, is to add a healthy dose of human judgement to model-based analysis.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says that means making the financial system as robust as possible in the face of a level of uncertainty that is never going to go away.