Investigators will spend years probing the debacles last year involving Orange County and Barings, when two seemingly solid players in the market collapsed under the weight of unforeseen trading and investment risks.

But the problems that brought down Barings and buffeted Orange County could have been avoided if management had followed two essential practices: performing value-at-risk analysis across the enterprise and separating the people responsible for measuring and analyzing value-at-risk from those charged with running the trading operation.

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