Risk management is the identification, assessment, mitigation, and monitoring of risks. The practice involves evaluation, relative prioritization, and recognition of similar risks and mitigation practices to best identify and accurately assess the effects of and efforts needed to manage multiple risks on an enterprise. Risk management allows organizations a methodological approach toward recognizing ways to identify, avoid, control, transfer, or accept risks while reducing exposure and potentially creating risk and resiliency advantages.
Operational Risk Management
Operational risk management (ORM) is the practice of assessing risk and establishing risk control protocols to mitigate and reduce an organization’s risk associated with business performance and internal processes, people, and systems.
Enterprise Risk Management
Enterprise risk management (ERM) is the practice of proactively understanding and reducing the risk exposure of an enterprise, typically analyzed with a top-down approach, i.e., to primarily assess and mitigate risks at the top level of an enterprise. Enterprise risk may include employing risk to create opportunities for market and competitive advantage and a return on risk.
How is financial Risk Management different from non-financial Risk Management?
Financial risk management typically involves the assessment and monitoring of risks with the focus of protecting the economic interests of an organization. At the same time, non-financial risk management involves the study of risk typically associated with strategies that do not affect the financial interests of an organization directly.
What is risk appetite?
Risk appetite is a measure of organizational preparedness to accept a certain measure of risk often quantified in financial and strategic terms. Risk appetite helps organizations understand how much risk they can take without compromising their ability to sustain a healthy business, and when such acceptance of risk should be terminated to avoid damage to the organization. What is risk tolerance?
Risk tolerance is the willingness of an organization to take a risk. Unlike risk appetite, where an organization decides the level of risk they can take, risk tolerance involves the threshold for the acceptance or rejection of risk.
What is the role of the Chief Risk Officer?
A Chief Risk Officer or CRO is an executive officer in an organization in charge of assessing, evaluating, and managing risks associated with multiple aspects of the business. Some of the primary responsibilities that come under the purview of a Chief Risk Officer include:
How is this role evolving?
Owing to the dynamic nature of the risk landscape and significant technological developments, CROs have now become critical to an organization’s core management. The role of a CRO in the contemporary business environment is not restricted to assessing and managing risks, and is extended to taking part in the core business strategy of an organization and helping develop roadmaps as a function and outcome of risks associated with different business decisions.
Risk identification is the process of discovering risks associated with different aspects of an organization and their potential impact.
What is a risk register? Why is it important?
A risk register is a document used by organizations to keep records and track all identified risks. While a risk register is sometimes used to fulfill regulatory compliance requirements, it more importantly helps organizations get a holistic view of all risks to assess exposure and enable monitoring.
What is a risk register used for?
A risk register is used as a repository of risks that an organization identifies. The register includes a record of risks, their type, and which aspect of an organization they can potentially affect. The risk register may also include a subset that can help an organization understand opportunities that they may explore relative to risk exposure.
What are the benefits of a risk and opportunity register?
A risk and opportunity register allows organizations to assess which business opportunities they can explore in terms of associated risks. It allows organizations to understand the effects of risks and evaluate the risk-to-reward ratio before making strategic business decisions.
What are the important criteria that should be listed in a risk register?
A risk register must include the following information for each recorded risk:
Risk assessment is the practice of evaluating the exposure, impact, and effects of an identified risk.
What is risk exposure? Why is it important?
Risk exposure is the evaluation of the potential impact of risk and the probability of its occurrence.
How is risk exposure calculated?
Calculating risk exposure involves quantifying a risk. It is calculated by multiplying the probability of risk occurrence by the potential impact of the risk.
What are the common types of risk exposure?
There are 4 most common types of risk exposure are:
Exposure to transaction risk involves risk arising out of disparities in exchange rates due to fluctuations in currencies occurring during the time between contracting and settlements. Transaction risk typically includes liquidity risk and credit risk.
Exposure to operating risk involves risk arising from fluctuations in currency exchange rates that affect the operating cash of an enterprise. Typically, multinational organizations are exposed to such risks.
Exposure to translation risk involves risk arising from changes in assets and liabilities of subsidiaries of a company. Such risk is typically borne by enterprises whose subsidiaries are located in a foreign country, and where the parent companies need to maintain consolidated financial records.
Exposure to economic risk involves risk arising from changes in the value of the business due to fluctuations in the exchange rate. As the rate of exchange changes and the financials remain the same, an enterprise is exposed to losses due to the reducing value of its assets and increasing liabilities.
What is risk scoring? Why is it important?
Risk scoring is the practice of using statistical analysis to quantify risk in terms of a comprehensible number or grade to determine the level of associated risk. Risk scoring is important because it provides relative scores across risks and actionable insights in easily interpretable numbers that can help expedite accurate decision-making
What is the commonly used risk scoring methods?
The most common methods of risk scoring are as follows:
This method involves discovering the possible outcomes and identifying their highest and lowest points. The difference between the two metrics is the range, where a smaller range means less risk and vice versa.
This method uses the dispersion of values from the mean to assess the risk level. A higher standard deviation means higher risk.
This method involves calculating the difference between the total rate of return and risk-free return and dividing it by the standard deviation. This enables enterprises to understand if the risk-to-reward ratio of the excess returns is a wise decision.
This method involves calculating the multiple of different points in a range using data from the recent past to arrive at an aggregate quantum of returns expressed as a percentage. A higher number means less risk and vice versa.
How are risk assessment scores calculated?
Risk assessment scores for an individual risk are calculated using the average of Likelihood, Impact, and Current Impact values.
What is the difference between risk scores and risk assessment?
While risk scores determine the level of associated risk, risk assessment helps enterprises understand if a potential risk exists.
Risk mitigation is a set of strategies deployed by organizations to reduce the exposure and impact of a particular risk. The process uses risk identification and assessment to develop defensive measures to protect the organization from potential damage.
What are the 4 strategies to be adopted for risk mitigation?
The strategies to be adopted for risk mitigation are as follows:
Risk avoidance involves changing the course of an action to eliminate an associated risk for the enterprise.
Risk control involves the development and deployment of measures to reduce exposure and the impact of associated risk.
Risk transfer involves the reassignment of associated risk to a different department or stakeholder(s) within an organization that can manage it better.
Risk acceptance involves the assumption of risk with no roadmaps for reduction or control, typically when the risk has a higher risk-to-reward ratio and it falls within the risk tolerance policy of an enterprise.
What is risk reporting? Why is it important in risk management?
Risk reporting is the practice of documenting and informing an enterprise of its biggest risks at a particular point in time. Risk reporting is important because it helps organizations prioritize their risks and deploy timely measures to protect their interests.
Why is effective risk reporting important?
An effective risk reporting practice is essential to an organization since it allows management to make informed decisions and resolve more pressing risks by establishing an order of priority.
Types of risk reporting
There are 4 major types of risk reporting:
Project risk reporting
Project risk reporting involves documenting and informing the enterprise of risks associated with a particular project, typically reported by smaller teams and project managers. It falls lowest in the risk reporting hierarchy.
Program risk reporting
Program risk reporting involves documenting and informing the enterprise of risks associated with a program that is composed of multiple projects. Such reporting also covers risk overlap between multiple projects.
Portfolio risk reporting
Portfolio risk reporting involves documenting and informing of all risks associated with all programs that form the portfolio of an enterprise.
Business risk reporting
Business risk reporting involves enterprise-level risk reporting involving risks falling within and outside the portfolio of the organization, typically covering all associated risks that an enterprise needs to address on priority.
What should a risk report include?
This includes a brief of all risks that an enterprise must address on priority. - Risk profile This is a number or a grade that helps enterprises understand the risks in quantifiable terms.
This is a measure of how much risk an organization can take before becoming unsustainable or financially weak.
Tolerance level is a measure of risk that an organization is willing to take. This number is typically much lower than risk capacity and helps organizations get a realistic picture of the risk-to-reward ratio.
Key risk indicators
KRIs are a set of metrics attached to each identified risk, where each indicator has a threshold. Whenever an indicator reaches beyond such a threshold, an organization can understand that a particular risk is beginning to materialize.
Effective risk management
This section includes information on proactive measures that the organization can take to mitigate or eliminate an identified risk.
What are the best practices for building an effective risk report?
A risk report must be relevant to the organization. It is common to see teams preparing reports based on information taken from the World Economic Forum and other forums’ risk reports. Although these forums do make astute observations and accurate risk reports, these tend to be much more generic and wide-ranging than needed.
Risk reports for an organization must be narrow and focused on risks that directly affect them. As an organization can identify risks relevant to their domain and business, they can prepare dedicated strategies to mitigate them, against generic risks which might or might not affect them.
A risk report should include lush use of visuals such as graphs, charts, and images. Research has proven that people are more likely to retain information for longer durations of time when acquired through visual mediums.
Further, information acquired with the help of visual cues helps executives understand the importance and relevance of different types of risks. Cues such as color schemes and shapes can be used to attach priority to a particular risk.
Sunrise and Sunset points
The sunrise and sunset points of identified risks are one of the most important parts of a risk report to help establish a timeline for the organization. A sunrise point is an event that helps understand when risk begins to materialize, and a sunset point is the event that helps understand when an identified risk is no longer considered a risk for the organization.
Sunrise and sunset points help organizations understand when to act and when to cease acting on risk. A sunrise point is a reference to deploy measures to counteract the ill effects of risk, mitigate the risk, and manage the risk. On the other hand, a sunset point is a reference to ceasing deployed measures as the identified risk is no longer considered a risk for the organization.
Risk Statement for Identified Risks
In a risk report, a clear and concise risk statement is indispensable for ensuring the risk and the threats that it poses are clearly understood by the organization. The risk statement must elaborate on the identified risk, the indicators that mark it as a risk, and additional material to make the risk more intelligible wherever required.
Measures in place
In events where an organization has already deployed certain measures that can mitigate identified risks, the measures in place must be included in the risk report. This allows organizations to understand their preparedness and identify any flaws in existing strategies that may cause leakage.
Measures in place also help organizations prioritize risks and focus on the risks against which the organization has no safeguards in place.
Risk Management Strategies
Finally, the risk report must include risk management strategies. The ultimate goal of a risk report is to understand ways in which the organization can prevent lasting damage. Therefore, along with a list of identified risks, the report must include measures and strategies available to mitigate such risks, their timeline, and possible backups in case the strategies fail to deliver.
Including risk management strategies in the risk report also help organizations prepare budgets and prepare contingency plans to protect their assets in the event of the failure of risk management measures.
While it may seem enough to have identified, assessed, placed controls, and created risk reports, at the core of any risk management strategy is the act of continuous monitoring. CM or continuous monitoring is one of the most important steps to manage risk in an evolving risk landscape and dynamic market environment.
Therefore, every risk management plan must include a continuous monitoring strategy. A continuous monitoring strategy must include the following:
Risk management is too often looked at as a hindrance to business growth. However, organizations must look at risk as a strategic enabler, that allows businesses to navigate difficult situations, and to open up fruitful opportunities and rewards. There is no reward without any risk.
Therefore, organizations require effective risk management to understand their business environment and the threats that exist to prepare strategies that can help them explore opportunities that lie within risks in every industry. Here is why risk management is important for organizations:
One of the core benefits of risk management is overall organizational security. Everything from job security for employees, and data security for systems and clients, to financial security for the organization, is a result of effective risk management.
Risk management helps organizations prepare measures to deal with threats in several aspects of an industry, therefore, when a risk materializes, the effects of the events are not detrimental to the organization.
Risk management helps organizations avoid uncertainty. As risk management allows organizations to understand the possibilities of certain events occurring, when such events do occur, teams are not startled, but rather prepared to deal with them,
Such certainty brings confidence to the organization and helps teams plan with a degree of predictability. Without risk management, organizations would remain in the dark and fail to plan for future growth.
Risk management improves efficiency in an organization by preparing teams in advance for certain events that may occur. When a risk materializes, the organization is only required to deploy the measures that have already been prepared. Since a strategy is already in place, reaction time is significantly less.
Risk management prevents organizations from disrupting their operations when events occur, since measures are already in place and organizations only need to deploy them in the usual course of business.
Risk management helps organizations curate overall business strategies. When an organization understands the potential and effects of risks, it can incorporate such uncertainty into its core business strategy.
Since risk management brings certainty to an organization, decision-making at the top level can significantly be improved and plans can be prepared with consideration for possible risks and opportunities in the future.
Risk management helps organizations protect their goodwill by preserving their assets and structure. Since risk management strategies are used to prepare organizations against uncertain events that have the potential to damage several of their aspects, they can sustain and counteract their ill effects.
Risk management builds confidence amongst people for the organization as they understand the importance of addressing and preparing for risk in the market.
As organizations expand across continents and the volume of data becomes unmanageable for humans to process, the management of complexities across all industries grows exponentially. Similarly, complexities associated with risk management are increasing as well.
Executives may argue that increasing complexity creates more opportunities and allows organizations to develop more ideas and innovate more freely. However, not managing such risk opportunities generally creates more threats to the organization. Here are some complexities that organizations need to address during risk management.
When organizations expand to newer markets, they increase organizational complexity in terms of people, culture, and market norms, jurisdictional requirements, and compliance. Effective risk management must account for changes brought by such expansion and incorporate them into the core strategy.
Although adopting new technologies more often than not paves the way for improvement and efficiency within the organization, interaction with legacy systems and changing regimes exposes organizations to several technology risks.
In this situation, ERM must account for fundamental changes brought by new technologies adopted by the organization.
Third parties are one of the biggest sources of risk for any organization. Even where third parties create more opportunities for efficiency and scalability for an organization. Therefore, the increased complexity for an organization due to third parties must be part of ERM.
Industries across the globe are evolving at unprecedented rates, and consequently, risk is as well. Therefore, to be able to tackle the risk landscape of the future, organizations need to adopt practices that can help them better understand and mitigate modern risks and adapt their programs for future needs.
Here is how risk management can be modernized for an organization.
Organizations have long relied on historical data to understand the risks of the future and their effects on the organization. However, modern risks are more adaptive and dynamic. Therefore, organizations need to develop better more adaptive risk management strategies and measures to tackle them.
Modern risk management practices prompt organizations to develop predictive models based on data to understand risks better, even in isolation from historical data. As a result, predictive models allow organizations to get more accurate results and prepare more targeted strategies for mitigating risks.
Organizations need to organize data better to understand their risks better. The modern approach to risk management prompts organizations to manage their data to improve transparency and visibility. When data is better organized, enterprises can create better models. Data organization helps enterprises reveal hidden information buried within vast tracts of data, information which can prove critical to an effective strategy.
Finally, as discussed above, the crux of any risk management strategy is continuous monitoring. Since risk landscapes are changing continuously so must the approach to managing them. Therefore, the modern risk management approach is incomplete without a proper continuous monitoring strategy.
Risk standards and frameworks are essentially guidelines that are used by enterprises to develop an effective risk management strategy. The standards are widely used across the globe and provide a rudimentary roadmap for enterprises to understand their business environment.
ISO 31000 is a widely used risk management standard developed by the International Organization of Standards, first published in 2009.
The ISO 31000 provides the following guidelines for effective risk management:
COSO ERM Framework is one of the most widely used frameworks for risk management by medium and large enterprises throughout the world. The framework was developed in 2004 by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and has seen several revisions since.
The COSO ERM Framework is composed of 5 components:
These are guidelines to help organizations understand the role of executive oversight, the operational structures of an organization, and the role of leadership.
These are guidelines to help organizations understand the effects of internal and external factors on strategy and how organizations must navigate them to reach effective ERM.
These guidelines help organizations improve and adjust their risk management strategy and increase its efficiency and effectiveness.
These are guidelines to help organizations understand how to engage in continuous monitoring and adapt to changing risk landscapes.
These are guidelines to help organizations improve the flow of information within the enterprise for better awareness and risk mitigation.
The British Standard (BS) 31100 is a framework developed in 2021 in alignment with ISO 31000 standard.
The framework provides the following guidelines for risk management:
These include general guidelines to help organizations get started with preparing their risk management strategy.
These include guidelines for the organization to understand the role of leadership in developing, deploying, and managing risk management measures.
These include guidelines to help organizations understand internal and external to better design a risk management strategy.
These include guidelines to help organizations understand how to deploy strategies and measures developed to mitigate risk.
These include guidelines for organizations to continuously monitor the effectiveness and status of a deployed measure for managing identified risk.
These include guidelines to help organizations understand flaws or limitations in a strategy and improve it based on the results of monitoring and reviewing.
The Risk Maturity Model (RMM) was developed by the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), a non-profit organization involved in research and development for advanced risk management.
The RMM framework includes the following components:
These are guidelines to help organizations understand their risk culture and the degree of support offered by executives or the board.
These are guidelines to help organizations understand how widely ERM methodologies are adopted throughout the enterprise structure. These guidelines also help identify how important ERM methodologies are to business decisions.
These guidelines help organizations evaluate their awareness level of the risk-to-reward ratio, risk tolerance, risk appetite, and the gap between potential and actual risk.
These are guidelines to help organizations identify the source and cause of a particular risk, and their classification accordingly.
These are guidelines to help organizations understand how widely a risk(s) is covered and identify possible leaks within the strategy.
These guidelines help organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a developed strategy, understand its effect, and incorporate changes to adapt to evolving environments.
These are guidelines to help organizations evaluate the preparedness of a strategy in terms of business continuity and planning and sustainability.
Here is a seven-step process developed in alignment with the ISO 31000 standard for risk management to help build and implement a risk management plan.
One of the biggest challenges to risk management is ineffective governance within an organization. The lack of due attention and validation to risks by top-level management and the board prevents organizations from mitigating risks effectively.
Poor governance prevents risk managers from getting due budgets and powers to avoid or eliminate risks through strategies. Further, the lack of proper governance prevents risk management from being incorporated into the core business strategy.
The lack of transparency and visibility within the organization prevents risk management from being effective. For a risk to be managed, mitigated, and eliminated, the organization must remain transparent to risk managers, offering access to the entire repository for teams to identify possible points of risk sunrise. Further, the lack of visibility prevents organizations from accurately identifying where, when, and how risk will originate.
A risk management strategy must develop to keep the organization protected for a prolonged period, through evolving risk landscape and threats. However, organizations often tend to prioritize efficiency over resiliency when developing strategies.
An efficient-only strategy may yield fruitful results in the short term and bring more immediate financial benefits, however, is likely to fail in the long run. An organization requires resilient risk management strategies to be prepared for all outcomes and evolving threats in the future. This helps organizations yield benefits in the long term and for prolonged periods, creating sustainable and continuous business.
The lack of modern risk analysis techniques prevents organizations from understanding the gravity of risk and its impending effects on the organization. Risk analysis is critical to an effective risk management strategy. However, organizations often do not incorporate effective techniques, leading to inaccurate measures and failed strategies.
Most organizations do not understand the importance of expertise in risk management. This is typically due to a lack of understanding of the domain. However, without employing experts for managing risk, organizations remain in the dark when attempting to understand frameworks, prioritization, and workings of the risk landscape.
Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance are critical components of an international organization’s functioning. While governance encompasses practices involving leadership and oversight of an organization, compliance encompasses the alignment of the organization with regulations and jurisdictional requirements, and risk helps organizations understand the potential threats that they face. Therefore, for an organization to function in an effective and sustainable manner, a connected GRC approach is necessary.
Risk must be viewed as an integral part of GRC for the following reasons:
Risk management helps organizations manage internal policies and helps identify flaws in existing regimes to prevent organizations from continuing with detrimental policies. Further, risk management helps organizations deploy and implement policies throughout the enterprise structure without any leakages.
Risk assessment helps organizations understand the risk associated with new markets, third parties, technological changes, or system rehauls.
Risk management helps organizations identify gaps in regulatory compliance requirements. Such gaps expose organizations to penalties and expulsions in different jurisdictions, affecting revenues as well as goodwill.
Risk management further helps organizations automate internal audits for effective monitoring of internal controls that affect the risk landscape of the organization.
Technology is helping risk managers identify, assess, and mitigate risks faster every day. As technology improves, teams, become more capable of understanding and dealing and dealing with risks. Here are some of the ways technology is helping risk management.
Technology is helping organizations create realistic and accurate risk models through the use of data. The data fed into a system can create predictive models for organizations to understand the probability of a risk arising from a particular source, the severity of the risk, and the possible effects of the risk.
Through technology, organizations can now run simulations of risk scenarios and understand how they can be affected if the risk materializes. Simulations allow organizations to understand the integrity of existing systems, their status at the sunrise of the risk, and the result of the event at the sunset of the risk.
Simulations also allow organizations to deploy a sandbox approach and understand the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures. The simulation can help teams understand where the gaps in the risk management strategy exist, and how they need to be addressed.
Advanced systems, especially those based on artificial intelligence and machine learning can be trained with key risk indicators (KRIs) to identify the sunrise of risk, and warm organizations early into the onset. Early warning systems allow organizations to get enough time to understand the effects of the risks, how it is evolving, and which strategies can be most effective against them.