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STRATEGIC HEDGING

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Abstract

This article presents a new approach to financial risk management whose primary objective is to ensure that companies have sufficient internal funds and access to outside capital to carry out their strategic investments. The foundation of this approach is a comprehensive measure of corporate exposure that views the firm as a collection of current cashgenerating assets and future investment opportunities and that attempts to show how changes in fundamental economic variables can threaten the firm's ability to realize its strategic objectives. As such, the measure of exposure reflects the effect of expected changes in economic variables not only on the firm's operating cash flows but also on its future investment requirements.

Because its focuses only on the exposures that need protection when regular sources of funds are exhausted, this strategic hedging approach will generally lead to a more conservative hedging policy. In so doing, it should enable companies to avoid the excessive and costly “micro” hedging of individual transactions—an approach that can easily degenerate into speculation.

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