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What is an Unknown Risk?

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An unknown risk is a potential loss that is completely unknown to you. It the context of risk management this includes any risk that is not identified and managed.

Unknown Unknowns

An unknown unknown is the state of being unaware that a particular type of knowledge exists. For example, an investor who is unaware of the concept of liquidity may purchase the stock of a firm with a high debt load, negative cash flow from operations, rising cost of capital and other issues that make bankruptcy possible. Such an investor is exposed to a firm's liquidity risk without knowing that such a concept exists.

Black Swans

Black swans are a class of high impact, low probability events that are difficult to predict. In some cases, low probability risks are excluded from risk management because they seem so improbable. However, events that are high impact may be a significant risk even if their probability is extremely low.

Risk Identification Shortfall

Risks may simply be missed by the process of risk identification. For this reason it is common to involve all stakeholders in risk identification and to bring in subject matter experts as required. For example, an information security expert may be required to identify risks to an information technology project.
Overview: Unknown Risk
Definition (1)
A potential for loss that is completely unknown to you.
Definition (2)
A non-zero probability risk that isn't identified by risk management.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about risks.
AI Risk
Risk Avoidance
Brand Risk
Budget Risk
Business Risks
Change Risk
Compliance Risk
Concentration Risk
Cost Risk
Country Risk
Credit Risk
Demand Risk
Dread Risk
Economic Risk
Exchange Rates
Existential Risk
External Risk
Financial Risk
Force Majeure
Good Risk
Human Error
Risk Identification
Infinite Risk
Inflation Risk
Inherent Risk
Interest Rates
Internal Risks
Investing Risk
Legal Risk
Liquidity Risk
Model Risk
Moment Of Risk
Natural Disasters
Negative Risk
Operations Risk
Passive Risk
Personal Risk
Political Risk
Process Risk
Procurement Risk
Product Risk
Project Risk
Pure Risk
Quality Risk
Recession Risk
Risk Mitigation
Refinancing Risk
Regulatory Risk
Reputational Risk
Residual Risk
Resource Risk
Revenue Risk
Risk Appetite
Risk Aversion
Risk Examples
Risk Management
Risk Management Process
Risk Matrix
Risk Meaning
Risk Measurement
Risk Taking
Risk Tolerance
Risk Triggers
Risk vs Issue
Risk vs Opportunity
Risk vs Uncertainty
Risk-Reward Ratio
Seasonal Risk
Secondary Risk
Security Risk
Settlement Risk
Risk Sharing
Speculative Risk
Strategic Risk
Strategy Risk
Supply Risk
Systemic Risk
Tactical Risk
Taxation Risk
Technology Risk
Risk Transfer
Unforced Error
Upside Risk
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