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Silicon Valley Bank Collapse Sparks Investigations, Highlights Need for Risk Management

Heather Satterley
Posted by Heather Satterley on Mar 16, 2023 2:41:59 PM

The recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has sent shockwaves through the tech industry and raised concerns about the potential for financial instability and its impact on the broader economy. According to this article from Fortune, the collapse has sparked investigations by both the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who are looking into whether the bank engaged in any fraudulent or illegal activities prior to its failure. 

While the investigations are still in their early stages, the collapse of SVB has already had significant repercussions for the tech industry and the broader financial system. Regulators in the UK and the US are taking steps to address the impact of the bank's failure and to ensure the stability of the financial system, as reported by Bank Automation News. Meanwhile, several biotech companies that had funds with SVB have experienced difficulties accessing their funds following the bank's failure and subsequent takeover by Silicon Valley Bridge Bank (SVBB), according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Help mitigate risk exposure to clients

Despite the challenges posed by the collapse of SVB, there are steps that businesses can take to minimize their exposure to financial risks and to navigate difficult situations. Davis Bell, CEO of Canopy, emphasizes the importance of being proactive in managing financial risks and the role that accountants can play in helping businesses to do so. "We believe that accountants can play a critical role in helping the small and medium-sized businesses of America to think through their exposure to macro shocks and build plans to minimize these risks," says Bell. "Businesses don't just need bookkeeping and tax preparation services - they need sophisticated strategic advisers to help them keep their businesses safe in a complex and changing world." 

The collapse of SVB highlights the importance of risk management and contingency planning, particularly for companies that rely heavily on loans and other forms of financing. SVB had been a significant lender to startups and other tech companies, and its failure could have ripple effects throughout the tech industry. Additionally, the collapse of SVB could contribute to inflation and recessionary pressures, particularly if other banks become more risk-averse in the wake of the failure. 

The debate over the regulation of industry-specific banks

Some experts are calling for increased regulation of banks that are focused on serving the tech industry, citing concerns about potential risks to the broader financial system. However, others argue that such regulation could stifle innovation and hinder the growth of the tech industry. Instead, they suggest that businesses and investors should be prepared for unexpected shocks and should have strategies in place to manage risks and navigate difficult financial situations. 

One example of this is a group of tech leaders who banked with SVB and have been using a WhatsApp group to stay informed about the bank's failure and to explore the possibility of creating a new bank that would focus specifically on serving the needs of the tech industry, as reported by Forbes. While it remains to be seen whether such a bank will materialize, the fact that these leaders are exploring alternative solutions highlights the importance of being proactive in managing financial risks and staying informed about the latest developments. 

Overall, the collapse of SVB serves as a stark reminder of the importance of risk management and contingency planning in today's rapidly changing and unpredictable world. Businesses and investors should work with their accountants and other advisers to develop strategies for managing financial risks and navigating difficult situations. While there are no guarantees in today's volatile business environment, being prepared and having a solid plan in place can help mitigate the impact of unexpected shocks and ensure the long-term success of businesses and investors alike. 

Topics: Finger on the Pulse


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