The "race for quality has no finish line. So technically it's more like a death march," according to the inspirational poster that Tamara K. Salmon, senior associate counsel at the Investment Company Institute, was reading at the outset of a session Tuesday at its Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference on the biggest operational risks fund firms face.

There were four 'process risks,' ranging from a misplaced belief in how well-run a machine a company is operating to 'we have the best people' to 'we have the best technology' to 'there is no dysfunction in our organization.' There were six 'substantive risks,' from dwindling resources to data security to inadequate procedures to headline risk to contingency planning risk to compliance risk.

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