How cultural differences impact financial risk taking

Our willingness to take risks influences how we decide and behave in many situations. Culture certainly influences individual risk-taking. Lessons from an interesting conversation about global financial risk at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos.

In the below video, Axel A. Weber, chairman of UBS is in conversation with

  • Jin Keyu, professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science,
  • Ray Dalio, founder of US investment manager Bridgewater Associates, and
  • Fang Xinghai vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Ray Dalio explains about his experience that in China, there’s a top-down way of setting a mission. Working from the top down has produced an increase of 20 times in income. But there is a culture clash with the US. The US is more individualistic, whereas China works more like a family.

Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission says that China does open up, and they want more companies from different sectors to come into China.

He agrees that China has a different approach to economic management and says we could learn from each other:

“Over the last 40 years China has not had a significant financial crisis. How has it managed that? They have a very top-down approach to financial risk management. The central government is constantly in touch with the financial sector. If risks are accumulating the government will step in. If there are jitters we move quickly to contain the risk so it does not spread into the entire system.”

Have a look at the conversation here:

Bottom line: Different cultures, different approaches. The power is in listening & the willingness to understand where the other person is coming from.

As the centre of the business world tilts towards China, understanding the communication patterns typical of Chinese culture becomes increasingly critical.

What are your thoughts and experiences on financial risk taking in different cultures? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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