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European senior execs focusing on risk: FERMA


Senior management teams at European companies are becoming more involved in risk management, according to a survey of European risk managers.

Chief executive officers, chief financial officers and board members are now more focused on risk management than in the past, and risk managers increasingly report to CEOs and CFOs, according to the survey.

The survey of 469 European companies was carried out by the Federation of European Risk Management Assns. in conjunction with Ernst & Young L.L.P. and AXA Corporate Solutions.

The results of the survey indicate that risk management is now well established in Europe and that it is now "more and more a top level matter," said Dominique Pageaud, a partner in Ernst & Young's business risk services division. It also indicates that the "scope for your job is expanding," Mr. Pageaud added.

According to the survey, for 44% of respondents, risk management within their companies is "sponsored" or overseen by the board of directors. Of respondents from the United Kingdom, the figure was 67%, while 57% of respondents from the Netherlands and 47% of those surveyed from Belgium said their board of directors was the sponsor of risk management.

About a third of those surveyed, 34%, said that risk management within their organizations was sponsored by the company president or CEO. This trend was most marked among French companies, 42% of which said their president or CEO sponsored risk management.

The remaining respondents, 32%, said that risk management within their organizations was sponsored by the CFO or treasurer.

According to the study, 46% of risk managers report to their company's CFO. This was most marked among respondents from Germany, with 81% of German respondents saying that they report to the CFO.

Most respondents, 63%, said the risk manager meets with the company's board of directors at least once a year, while this happens on an "as needed" basis at 23% of respondents' companies.

According to the survey, top management's main objectives for risk management are to minimize operational surprises and losses--cited as a management priority by 73% of respondents. The next most important objective was to enhance risk response decisions, which was cited by 47% of respondents; 45% cited the alignment of risk appetite and strategy and 43% said the main objective was to identify and manage cross-enterprise risks.