FM Global CFO Plans for Long-Term Currency Perils

Amid political uncertainty, the mutual property insurer's CFO closely manages currency risks to protect FM Global's policyholder-owners.

What was going through your mind while the debt-limit crisis was going on?
My overriding thinking was that I wish we could play nice together and get some sort of solution. It does have real economic consequence when you have a situation like that. And it’s a little bit unique. You know, we’re holding the debt of the country hostage for political purposes. A potentially significant default by the United States would have caused real havoc in interest rates and the strength of the dollar — which is what we were preparing for a little bit.

What would have been the consequences for your company if that had happened? Come to think of it, it still could happen.
Sure. All we’ve done is delay it. Because most of our business is in dollars, our immediate strategy is to move as much surplus currency into dollars so that we don’t have any financial risk. Certainly we aren’t going to get into any futures type of trading because in this environment of political uncertainty, it’s legalized gambling to do that. And people like me lose jobs if they gamble wrong. So we’re going to keep as much of our assets as we can in dollars until there’s some political stability in the economy.

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