Risk Management » Understanding and Addressing Complex Risks in the Finance Industry

Understanding and Addressing Complex Risks in the Finance Industry

Understanding and Addressing Complex Risks in the Finance Industry

April 9, 2024

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in 2023, coupled with the bailouts of First Republic and Credit Suisse, highlighted the risks in the finance industry inherent in pursuing higher returns without adequate risk management, according to Financial Management Magazine.

Notably, Silicon Valley Bank operated without a chief risk officer for much of 2022, indicating a gap in risk oversight. A dedicated risk management leader would have been crucial in devising strategies to navigate the complex and evolving global economic landscape.

The challenges in enterprise-wide risk management extend beyond these high-profile cases. According to the 2023 Global State of Enterprise Risk Oversight report, most respondents across various regions reported an increase in the volume and complexity of risks over the past five years. However, only a minority assessed their organization’s risk management maturity as “mature” or “robust,” indicating a significant gap in risk management capabilities.

One key barrier to investing in risk management leadership is overconfidence among CEOs and boards, who may believe that existing discussions adequately address risks, despite evidence suggesting otherwise. 

Resistance to conversations about risks also stems from a cultural preference for optimism over pessimism, leading to a reluctance to engage in discussions perceived as negative. Additionally, some executives view risk management as a competing priority rather than a complementary one to strategic initiatives.

The article recommends that to address these challenges, organizations must critically evaluate their risk management approach. Key considerations include the alignment of risk management with strategic decision-making, the identification and ownership of top risks, and the integration of risk indicators into performance metrics. By asking critical questions about their risk management processes, organizations can identify areas for improvement and enhance their ability to navigate an increasingly complex risk environment.

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