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Contracts So Complex They Imperil the System (NYT)

February 24, 2002

By DANIEL ALTMAN

Can what we don't know hurt us?

Though trading in those devilishly complex financial tools known as derivatives did not contribute much to Enron (news/quote)'s collapse, the contracts did allow the company to conceal the aims of its financial dealings. The veil of complexity, whose weave is tightening as sophisticated derivatives evolve and proliferate, poses subtle risks to the financial system — risks that are impossible to quantify, sometimes even to identify.
 
 

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