Brussels
04 October 2016
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

Risk managers rising in corporate ranks, finds FERMA


European risk managers are taking a more strategic role in their companies with increasing access to top management levels and the board, a Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) survey has found.

More than half the 634 respondents to the survey, which took place between April and June and represents a sample of 14 percent, play a part in implementing risk culture across their organisation (68 percent) and develop risk management as a part of business strategy (62 percent).

Two-thirds report to the board or top management level, according to the survey.

FERMA president Jo Willaert commented: “From this survey, we see that risk managers are moving into a position where they are helping embed risk management into the business model and culture of their organisations. They are taking an enterprise wide vision of risks, including the wider business environment, and the majority report to a chief officer or the board.”

The survey also showed rising concern among risk managers about economic conditions and business continuity disruption since the previous FERMA survey in 2014.

Together with political and country instability, these are regarded as the three top risks to businesses. Digital risks—cyber attack/data privacy and IT systems and data centres—also increased in importance in 2016.

Digital and cyber risks are, not surprisingly, according to FERMA, a rising concern and risk managers are looking for a greater partnership with insurers on loss prevention and incident management.

The purchase of standalone cyber risk coverage has grown since 2014, but two-thirds of companies still do not buy such protection.

"There is work to be done here in strengthening our resilience to these constantly evolving risks. FERMA has always emphasised that they are enterprise risks, and the survey shows that we need closer relationships between the risk management and IT functions," Willaert added.

“We are also looking for a partnership with our advisers, brokers and insurers to strengthen our resilience and management of incidents.”

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