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Saturday 21 July 2018


Risk leaders struggling to manage major risks

Written by staff reporter

Risk leaders are struggling to identify and manage the major risks facing their organisations, according to the biannual Aon Global Risk Management Survey published today by Aon Risk Solutions.

The report unveiled the top 10 risks as well as hidden risks facing organisations today, illustrating the importance of no longer evaluating risk in isolation but considering the relation of risks to establish and maintain a successful risk management programme.

Aon's report points to a significant decline in risk readiness among many of the survey respondents. On average, reported readiness for the top 10 risks dropped a material 7% (from 66% to 59%) from the 2011 survey and reported loss of income increased 14%. Of the 28 industries defined in the report, only three industries – pharmaceutical and biotechnology, non-aviation transportation manufacturing and agribusiness – reported the same or improved levels of readiness this year.

“One possible explanation of the decline in risk readiness could be that the prolonged economic recovery has strained organisations’ resources, thus hampering the abilities to mitigate many of these risks,” said Stephen Cross, chairman of Aon Global Risk Consulting. “Our survey revealed that, despite diverse geographies, companies across the globe shared surprisingly similar views on the risks we are facing today – whether or not they feel prepared.”

Aon saw the number of respondents to its latest Global Risk Management Survey jump to more than 1,400 – a 47% increase from its 2011 report. This indicates that companies continue to have a higher level of attentiveness to risk management. The 2013 report ranked the top 50 risks companies face, focusing on the top 10 risks in 2013 and how they may change in 2016.

Risk Rank

Economic slowdown/slow recovery, ranked 1 in 2013, projected 2016: 1
Regulatory/legislative changes, 2, 2
Increasing competition, 3, 3
Damage to reputation/brand, 4, 8
Failure to attract or retain top talent, 5, 5
Failure to innovate/meet client needs, 6, 4
Business interruption,7,11
Commodity price risk, 8, 7
Cash flow/liquidity risk, 9, 10
Political risk/uncertainties , 10, 6

Economic slowdown/slow recovery, regulatory/legislative changes and increasing competition are not surprisingly the top three risks in 2013 and 2016. These risks also take top spots on the risk rankings for the survey’s five main regions, which include Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. These same three risks are also among the top risks for 24 of the 28 industries surveyed. This ranking reflects the systemic nature of these risks and the high interdependence of global economic activity.

Political risk/uncertainties broke into the top 10 risks for the first time in 2013. Due to the increasing civil wars and social and political conflicts around the world, this risk is projected to move up to number six in the 2016 survey. Weather/natural disasters, while not far off the radar at a current ranking of number 16, is also projected to jump into the top 10 list at number nine, given the unusual climate patterns worldwide and an unprecedented increase in natural disasters and weather events. Failure to innovate/meet customer needs is an increasing priority, projected to jump from number six to number four in the next three years. Business interruption is expected to drop out of the top 10 risks due to companies’ efforts to improve business recovery planning.

The 2013 Global Risk Management Survey also uncovered several significant risks to watch, as these are perceived to be underrated risks. Aon encourages companies to increase attention on the following:

Computer crimes/hacking/viruses/malicious codes, ranked 18
Counter party credit risk, 20
Loss of intellectual property/data, 29
Social media, 40
Pension scheme funding, 47

Javier Gimeno, the Aon Dirk Verbeek chaired professor in international risk and strategic management at INSEAD, reviewed Aon's survey and added, “As part of the board’s responsibility to endorse and monitor strategy, directors should gain an intimate understanding of the major strategic risks, possible scenarios and how the appropriate strategy allows the exploration of uncertainties and mitigation of strategic risks. Given the results of Aon’s 2013 Global Risk Management Survey, developing capabilities for strategic risk management by top management teams and boards should be an important priority in these uncertain times.”

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