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What Is a Contingency?

A contingency is a possible prevalence of a destructive occasion sooner or later, corresponding to an financial recession, pure catastrophe, fraudulent exercise, terrorist assault, or a pandemic. In 2020, companies have been hit with the coronavirus pandemic forcing many staff to should work remotely. As a consequence, firms wanted to implement a distant work technique. However, for some companies, working remotely wasn’t an choice, which led to the implementation of enhanced security measures for workers and clients to forestall the unfold of the virus.

Although contingencies will be ready for, the character and scope of such destructive occasions are sometimes unknowable upfront. Companies and traders plan for varied contingencies via evaluation and implementing protecting measures.

In finance, managers typically try and determine and plan–utilizing predictive fashions–for doable contingencies that they imagine might happen. Financial managers are likely to err on the conservative aspect–to mitigate danger–assuming barely worse-than-expected outcomes. A contingency plan would possibly embody arranging an organization’s affairs in order that it will probably climate destructive outcomes with the least misery doable.

Key Takeaways

  • A contingency is a doubtlessly destructive occasion that will happen sooner or later, corresponding to an financial recession, pure catastrophe, or fraudulent exercise.
  • Companies and traders plan for varied contingencies via evaluation and implementing protecting measures.
  • An intensive contingency plan minimizes loss and harm attributable to an unexpected destructive occasion.
  • Contingency plans can embody the acquisition of choices or insurance coverage for funding portfolios.
  • Banks should put aside a proportion of capital for destructive contingencies, corresponding to a recession, to guard the financial institution in opposition to losses.

How A Contingency Works

To plan for contingencies, monetary managers might typically additionally suggest setting apart vital reserves of money in order that the corporate has robust liquidity, even when it meets with a interval of poor gross sales or sudden bills. Managers might search to proactively open credit score traces whereas an organization is in a robust monetary place to make sure entry to borrowing in much less favorable occasions. For instance, pending litigation could be thought of a contingent liability. Contingency plans sometimes embody insurance coverage insurance policies that cowl losses that will come up throughout and after a destructive occasion.

However, insurance coverage insurance policies might not cowl all the prices or each situation. For instance, business interruption insurance does not normally cowl pandemics, which many companies suffered via because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal authorities needed to step in and handed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, which offered monetary aid to companies, households, and native governments to stem the financial hardship attributable to the pandemic. In explicit, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) supplied $349 billion in support to small companies to assist them preserve their payroll and bills.

Insurance firms may additionally restrict protection or put exclusions in place for an act of God, which is an exogenous occasion, that means outdoors of human management, corresponding to a flood or an earthquake. Also, insurance coverage cannot change the shoppers that have been misplaced to opponents resulting from an occasion, significantly if it was an inner methods situation corresponding to a knowledge breach. As a consequence, companies must have contingency plans established to assist decrease the misplaced income and elevated prices which can be concerned when enterprise operations have been disrupted. Typically, enterprise consultants are employed to make sure contingency plans take a lot of doable eventualities into consideration and supply recommendation on tips on how to greatest execute the plan.

Types of Contingency Plans

Contingency plans are utilized by firms, governments, traders, and by central banks, such because the Fed. Contingencies can contain actual property transactions, commodities, investments, forex change charges, and geopolitical dangers.

Protecting Assets

Contingencies may additionally embody contingent assets, that are advantages (slightly than losses) that accrue to an organization or particular person given the decision of some unsure occasion sooner or later. A good ruling in a lawsuit or an inheritance could be examples of contingent belongings.

Contingency plans would possibly contain buying insurance insurance policies that pay money or a profit if a selected contingency happens. For instance, property insurance coverage is likely to be bought to guard in opposition to fireplace or wind harm.

Investment Positions

Investors defend themselves from contingencies that might result in monetary losses associated to investing. Investors would possibly make use of varied hedging methods corresponding to stop-loss orders, which exits a place at a particular worth degree. Hedging may also contain utilizing options methods, which is akin to purchasing insurance coverage whereby the methods earn cash as an funding place loses cash from a destructive occasion. The cash earned from the choices technique utterly or partially offsets the losses from the funding. However, these methods come at a value, normally within the type of a premium, which is an up-front money cost.

Investors additionally make use of asset diversification, which is the method of investing in varied various kinds of investments. Asset diversification helps to reduce danger if one asset class, corresponding to shares, declines in worth.

Contingent Immunization

Contingent immunization is a kind of contingency plan utilized in fixed-income investing. It entails the fund supervisor switching to a defensive place if the portfolio drops beneath a predetermined worth.

Business Continuity and Recovery

As a part of a contingency plan for disasters, corresponding to a pandemic, firms must plan forward to make sure that the enterprise can function throughout and after an occasion. This sort of contingency plan is usually known as a business continuity plan (BCP) or a business recovery plan.

Typically, a enterprise continuity group is shaped to plan for any doable contingencies and handle the continuity and restoration plan throughout a disruption. Businesses must determine their essential enterprise capabilities and carry out an evaluation of how an occasion would possibly influence the corporate’s operations and processes. The contingency plan would come with implementing the restoration of essential enterprise capabilities corresponding to methods, manufacturing, and worker entry to know-how corresponding to computer systems.

For instance, a contingency plan for a pandemic would come with growing a distant work technique to assist stop the unfold of illness and to offer staff with safe entry to their work. As a consequence, firms would want to spend money on know-how, which may embody offering laptops and video-conferencing entry to staff, creating cloud-based information storage, and facilitating entry to company-wide communications corresponding to e mail and inner information.


With any sort of catastrophe, cybercriminals typically attempt to reap the benefits of a disaster to hack into an organization’s methods and steal information or disrupt enterprise operations. Contingency plans are used to stipulate the procedures for cybersecurity groups to guard a company from threats and malicious assaults.

Special Considerations

A contingency plan must also put together for the lack of mental property via theft or destruction. As a consequence, backups of essential information and pc applications, in addition to key firm patents, ought to be maintained in a safe off-site location. Contingency plans want to arrange for the opportunity of operational mishaps, theft, and fraud. An organization ought to have an emergency public relations response referring to doable occasions which have the flexibility to severely harm the corporate’s popularity and its capability to conduct enterprise.

How an organization is reorganized after a destructive occasion ought to be included in a contingency plan. It ought to have procedures outlining what must be executed to return the corporate to regular operations and restrict any additional harm from the occasion. For instance, monetary companies agency Cantor Fitzgerald was capable of resume operation in simply two days after being crippled by the 9/11 terrorist assaults resulting from having a complete contingency plan in place.

Benefits of a Contingency Plan

An intensive contingency plan minimizes loss and harm attributable to an unexpected destructive occasion. For instance, a brokerage firm might have a backup energy generator to make sure that trades will be executed within the occasion of an influence failure, stopping doable monetary loss. A contingency plan may also scale back the danger of a public relations catastrophe. An organization that successfully communicates how destructive occasions are to be navigated and responded to is much less more likely to undergo popularity harm.

A contingency plan typically permits an organization affected by a destructive occasion to maintain working. For instance, an organization might have a provision in place for doable industrial motion, corresponding to a strike, so obligations to clients will not be compromised. Companies which have a contingency plan in place might get hold of higher insurance coverage charges and credit score availability as a result of they’re seen to have decreased enterprise dangers.

Example of a Contingency Plan

As a results of the monetary disaster of 2008 and the Great Recession, laws have been carried out requiring financial institution stress checks to be carried out to check how a financial institution would possibly deal with varied destructive contingencies. The stress checks challenge how a lot a financial institution would lose–if a destructive financial occasion occurred–to find out if the financial institution has sufficient capital or funds put aside to outlive the occasion.

Banks are required to have a particular proportion of capital reserves readily available, relying on the full of risk-weighted assets (RWAs). These belongings, that are sometimes loans, have varied danger weightings utilized to them. For instance, a financial institution’s mortgage portfolio would possibly obtain a 50% weighting, that means the financial institution–in a destructive situation–ought to have sufficient capital that is valued at 50% of the excellent mortgage loans. The capital–known as Tier-1 capital–can embody fairness shares or shareholders’ equity and retained earnings, which is amassed financial savings of prior years’ earnings. Although there are numerous elements that go into the tier-capital ratio requirement, the ratio must be at the very least 6% of the full of risk-weighted belongings.

Let’s say for instance, Bank XYZ has $3 million in retained earnings and $4 million in shareholders’ fairness, that means the full tier-1 capital is $7 million. Bank XYZ has risk-weighted belongings of $70 million. As a consequence, the financial institution’s tier-1 capital ratio is 10% ($7 million/$70 million). Since the capital requirement is 6%, the financial institution is taken into account well-capitalized when in comparison with the minimal requirement.

Of course, we can’t know if the banking sector’s contingency plan will likely be ample till one other recession happens, which is a limitation of those plans because it’s troublesome to plan for each contingency.

Contingency FAQs

Why Is an Environmental Contingency Plan Important?

Businesses which can be in danger for environmental accidents–significantly spills of hazardous supplies–ought to at all times have a plan in place detailing their response actions. Being ready can assist decrease the full harm executed to the surroundings, decrease accident-related prices, and restrict legal responsibility.

What is a Contingency Table?

In statistics, contingency tables are used to show the info of variables when it comes to frequency. They are steadily utilized in each survey analysis and scientific analysis.

What is Contingency Theory?

Contingency idea is an strategy to administration that implies one of the simplest ways to run a company depends, or contingent, on that specific scenario. In different phrases, a particular administration fashion can work nicely in a single firm and fail utterly in one other one.

What Is an Appraisal Contingency?

In actual property, an appraisal contingency is a clause that permits the homebuyer to stroll away from their buy contract if a house is appraised for lower than the acquisition worth. An appraisal, in idea, determines the truthful market worth of the house.

What Is a Home Inspection Contingency?

A house inspection contingency is a provision that permits the customer to have the house inspected earlier than buying it. Depending on the outcomes of the inspection, the customer can both again out of the sale or negotiate on the repairs.

What is a Loan Contingency?

A mortgage contingency, also called a mortgage or financing contingency, is a provision that permits the customer to again out of the acquisition if one thing goes fallacious within the mortgage approval course of.

What is a Contingency Fee for a Lawyer?

A contingency price for a lawyer is the amount of cash they obtain as cost provided that the case is received. In common, attorneys cost a contingency price proportion between 33% and 40%.

The Bottom Line

A contingency is a doubtlessly destructive future occasion or circumstance, corresponding to a worldwide pandemic, pure catastrophe, or terrorist assault. By designing plans that take contingencies into consideration, firms, governments, and people are capable of restrict the harm executed by such occasions.

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