Sabine Mauderer: Exposing and acting on risks in a fast-changing world

Speech by Dr Sabine Mauderer, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, at the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) Annual Conference 2023 "Hidden risks and new horizons", Frankfurt am Main, 21 November 2023.

Central bank speech  | 
22 November 2023

Check against delivery 

1 Introduction

Good morning everyone.

It's great to be part of EIOPA's Annual Conference. Quick show of hands, please: Who likes animals? Everyone, right? That's what I thought. I do, too, of course. 

But when I joined the Bundesbank, I never thought that – as a central banker – I would be talking that much about animals. Black swans, green swans, elephants in the room or grey rhinos. 

Of course, these are all metaphors. Images that help us frame complex challenges and make them more tangible. At a time when we are facing multiple crises all at once – a polycrisis – that is more essential than ever. On the one hand, to address the crises we face today. On the other hand, to ready us for the crises of tomorrow. 

By bringing hidden risks out into the open and getting a grip on the complexities that might be emerging, we might also be able to open up new horizons. And that dovetails perfectly with the title of today's conference – "Hidden risks and new horizons".

2 Spotting the grey rhino

Let me elaborate on one of the metaphors I just mentioned: the grey rhino. This term was coined by American political scientist Michele Wucker. It describes risks that are highly probable and will have a huge impact but that are neglected.