New Risks Emerge in East Europe

By Oshins, Alice H. | Risk Management, June 1990 | Go to article overview

New Risks Emerge in East Europe


Oshins, Alice H., Risk Management


Business leaders around the world are studying events in Eastern Europe, and as revealed in the conference's special session, Joint Ventures in the USSR and Eastern Europe, the risk manager is no exception.

As companies pursue the opportunities in these emerging economies, it is up to the risk manager to determine how to cover the risks involved, said John O'Sullivan, managing director and general manager of Marsh & McLennan Worldwide in New York. "As the Iron Curtain rises," he said, "a new view of Eastem Europe emerges-one that includes risk as well as opportunities."

Eastern European countries are luring Western investors, said Mr. O'Sullivan, because they comprise a market of more than 400 million consumers. There is also the possibility of acquiring access to natural resources, developing cost-effective means of production and nurturing long-term trade agreements.

Mr. O'Sullivan said the Soviet Union is leading the way in EastWest joint ventures With more than 1,500, then East Germany, Hungary and Yugoslavia, each with more than 1,000. Poland has approximately 500, and Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria each have about 50.

Kari Liukkonen, a senior manager of The Pohjola Group in Helsinki, Finland, discussed loss prevention as practiced in the Eastern bloc. He said loss prevention concepts are vastly different than those in the West, but they vary in each Eastern bloc nation.

"The best results are achieved when a local person is in charge of risk management," Mr. Liukkonen said, "because knowledge of local legislation, crime rates and geographic circumstances such as the quality of electricity, gas and suppliers of raw materials is essential to loss prevention and control. …

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