Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Not a Job for the Fainthearted; Good Risk Managers Are in Demand but in Short Supply

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Not a Job for the Fainthearted; Good Risk Managers Are in Demand but in Short Supply

Article excerpt

Byline: WENDY LEDGER

Ever since the publication of the Turnbull Report in 1999, companies have faced a greater responsibility when it comes to managing their internal control and risk. The business world is continually evolving and, as a result of the dynamic global economy in which companies now trade, corporate risk is also an evolving dynamic.

Those executives who are skilled in financial risk management are in high demand at present but it is no longer just financial risk of which company directors need to be aware and the people needed by modern businesses require an increasing diversity of skills.

"Risk management has become more of a science than it has ever been with legal risk, regulatory risk, market/counter party risk and credit risk," says David Hughes, managing director of Executive Connections. "The new scientific methodologies which are being applied to every area of banks' activities are a result of more controls on the decisions to make trades or not. The barrow boy has been superseded by the PhDs."

Risk management is rapidly becoming one of the most important areas in business and finding the right person for the job is becoming more difficult.

While newly-qualified maths and science PhD graduates are considered the best hope for future roles, in some cases they are failing to come up to scratch.

Ben Hertzberg, of TMP Worldwide, says: "Recent feedback from a VP in a top-tier market risk function interviewing fresh graduates suggested he knew more about their PhD theses than they did and few were displaying sufficient commercial awareness."

The role of the risk manager is still evolving and companies need people who can adapt to changing circumstances and have the potential to do well in this diverse role.

Robert Bowyer, associate director with Parker Bridge, describes some of the skills and characteristics that individuals will need to cope in the role.

"The risk manager will need a special kind of skill set. An all-round understanding of the business, as well as the social and ethical issues, legal acumen, accounting skills, particularly a strong audit approach and first-class problem solving skills, as well as the ability to communicate at all levels. …

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