TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.71

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There are many definitions of risk, but in a transfer pricing context it is appropriate to consider risk as the effect of uncertainty on the objectives of the business. In all of a company’s operations, every step taken to exploit opportunities, every time a company spends money or generates income, uncertainty exists, and risk is assumed. A company is likely to direct much attention to identifying uncertainties it encounters, in evaluating whether and how business opportunities should be pursued in view of their inherent risks, and in developing appropriate risk mitigation strategies which are important to shareholders seeking their required rate of return. Risk is associated with opportunities, and does not have downside connotations alone; it is inherent in commercial activity, and companies choose which risks they wish to assume in order to have the opportunity to generate profits. No profit- seeking business takes on risk associated with commercial opportunities without expecting a positive return. Downside impact of risk occurs when the anticipated favourable outcomes fail to materialise. For example, a product may fail to attract as much consumer demand as projected. However, such an event is the downside manifestation of uncertainty associated with commercial opportunities. Companies are likely to devote considerable attention to identifying and managing economically significant risks in order to maximise the positive returns from having pursued the opportunity in the face of risk. Such attention may include activities around determining the product strategy, how the product is differentiated, how to identify changing market trends, how to anticipate political and social changes, and how to create demand. The significance of a risk depends on the likelihood and size of the potential profits or losses arising from the risk. For example, a different flavour of ice-cream may not be the company’s sole product, the costs of developing, introducing, and marketing the product may have been marginal, the success or failure of the product may not create significant reputational risks so long as business management protocols are followed, and decision-making may have been effected by delegation to local or regional management who can provide knowledge of local tastes. However, ground-breaking technology or an innovative healthcare treatment may represent the sole or major product, involve significant strategic decisions at different stages, require substantial investment costs, create significant opportunities to make or break reputation, and require centralised management that would be of keen interest to shareholders and other stakeholders.

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